Another Federal Redistribution: Another Screwing of BC!

This is what BC gets … when not a single British Columbia Member of Parliament … of ANY party … (or the BC media) speak up and stand up for BC when House of Commons seats are re-distributed!

BC gets screwed! And we will be screwed again in the next House of Commons … FAILING to get our FAIR SHARE of seats in Canada’s elected Parliament, based on population.

“Despite millions of new Canadians packing into Central and Western Canada over the last 10 years, those regions will be receiving virtually no extra MPs under a proposed Elections Canada redistribution plan,” National Post columnist Tristin Hopper noted Sept. 1st.

Ontario has gained 1.4 million new people since the last redistribution was completed in 2012. For this, the province is slated to receive just a single new MP. B.C. gained 800,000 people since 2012. It, too, will be receiving just one more MP,” he explained.

You can read Hopper’s full article here:

The National Post too conservative for you to have full credibility?

Well, read this Aug. 25 analysis from reporter Aaron Wherry, “who has covered Parliament Hill since 2007 and has written for Maclean’s, the National Post and the Globe and Mail”, says the CBC (which I view as the unofficial voice of the NDP):

“Currently, voters in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta are slightly underrepresented in the House of Commons, while all other provinces are slightly over-represented.”

Read Wherry’s CBC coverage here:

The bottom line is BC is STILL not getting its FAIR SHARE of House of Commons seats!


Because the FIX IS IN!!

Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer supervises the work of supposedly “independent” electoral boundary commissions who draw proposed maps and riding allocations, based on population numbers in the preceding census … in this case, done in 2021.

“Each three-person commission is chaired by a judge who is selected by the Chief Justice of the province. The Speaker of the House of Commons appoints the other two members,” Wherry explained. 

Sounds fair and impartial?

BUT there’s more to than that … a LOT more, that hampers, handicaps and then handcuffs and the whole process.

First, a special clause on the Canadian Constitution GUARANTEES each province that “its number of seats in the House of Commons can never be lower than the number of seats it holds in the Senate“, Hopper explained.

That gives New Brunswick three EXTRA seats; PEI two; and, both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland one EXTRA MP each.

And that favoritism is dwarfed by another “FIX”.

The “grandfather clause” — first introduced in 1985 — holds that a province can never lose MPs. No matter how big the country gets — and no matter how much outmigration a province experiences — the clause ensures that a province will always retain at least the same number of seats it held in the last election,” Hopper noted.

That gives Nova Scotia and Newfoundland another EXTRA seat each; Manitoba two; Saskatchewan four; and Quebec seven extra seats … not matter how much their population decreases or how much their proportional share of the total Canadian population shrinks!

Combining the two preferential treatments gives seven provinces MORE representation in the Commons than their population would warrant under equalized allocation: Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

And getting LESS representation than they should, if the system was fair and equal: Ontario, Alberta and BC.

Read the Elections Canada report here:

Officially discriminatory! Officially undemocratic! Officially disgraceful!

Surely, there is something intrinsically wrong when the provinces that consistently have engendered the greatest part of Canada’s GNP/revenues/wealth are given LESS political representation in Ottawa, while those provinces that have consistently been “on the take” (Equalization payments etc.) are rewarded with EXTRA political representation and, thus, EXTRA power and influence.

Read it and weep:

So why don’t BC MPs … from EVERY party …scream like hell?

Because they are sellouts to their parties’ Eastern/Central Canada interests: silent in the belief that the path to power (forget about ethics, principle and fairness) lies in Ontario’s 122 seats and the 78 in Quebec, plus the plumped up 30 seats in the Maritimes … not by fighting for BC to get its fair share.

And they get away with it because, once more, BC’s largely Eastern-controlled media remain complacent, co-opted and therefore complicit.

But I’m back!

Harv Oberfeld

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18 Responses to Another Federal Redistribution: Another Screwing of BC!

  1. Harold Dolan says:

    Tristin Hopper is a “he”.

    (Response: Oops! Thanks Harold. 🙂 h.o.)

  2. e.a.f. says:

    Read the article on line and thought I wonder if Harvey would be interested in this, remembering a previous column where you pointed out how much money Quebec got each year from the feds, compared to B.C. then I just checked to see if you were back and boy are you! You obviously read the same article I did. If it weren’t so serious, it would be funny. One Maritine province would retain its 10 M.P.s even if the population fell to 22,000. Its grandparented. You can’t make this stuff up, but it sure is happening in Canada. Might make a great idea for a comedy show, you know 10 M.P.s for 22K people and then the frustration of the B.C., M.P.s having so many constituants.
    Who ever planned the Maritime “trick” certainly needs to be congratulated for their work. They most likely thought the Maritimes would loose population but wanted to ensure their party was re-elected.

    Checked to see who was Prime Minister during this time; Brian Mulroney and one of the Cabinet Ministers was John Crosby. One of my favorite books still is, On the Take, The Mulroney Years, by Stevie Cameron. Those two are truly the gift/grift which keeps on giving.

    My take on the situation for Ontario, B.C., Alberta is given Ontario’s size none of the parties wanted an Ontario agenda to become a federal agenda. B.C. and Alberta at one time were not paid much attention and not considered that important, but then Alberta found oil and things changed and government attitudes at the federal level didn’t and B.C., it always was a “little strange”. Both Alberta and B.C. have gone in other directions, politically, i.e. they both had Socred parties/governments. Can’t be trusted what they might do. Both provinces have had “interesting’ premiers and that isn’t what the power brokers want in this country. They want “stability” to continue to make money, retain power, etc.

    Thanks for making this your first back post. I’m personally not keen on this inbalance of voting power. Its not democratic. As to not being “fair”, when I said that on one occasion when I was much, much younger, some one replied, “who promised you justice”. What has been done in Canada is much like what the Americans did in their Senate, with each state having only two Senators, regardless of size. So there is California with the fifth largest economy in the world havivng the same number of Senators as Deleward, Rode Island, some of the fly over states, etc.
    In Canada the Maritimes and Quebec enjoy all sorts of “benefits” we in the West can only dream about. It does make sense from a politcal point of view to ensure the provinces of B.C. and Alberta pay while others enjoy, and we can’t do much about it. It might be time forMr. Singh and the NDP to do something along with the Greens.

    Welcome back Harvey!

    (Response: The skewed electoral system is bad enough … until you look at the equalization payments system, which is even worse! From Wikipedia: “The fiscal capacity of provinces is measured using a representative tax system, a basic model of provincial and municipal tax systems, covering virtually all own-source revenues. It is made up of estimates of provincial tax bases, actual provincial revenues and population. By using the same tax base definition across all provinces the representative tax system can be used to compare the ability of individual provinces to raise revenues. Have provinces are those that generate more tax revenue per person than the national average, while have-not provinces have revenue per person below the national average. The individual revenue sources are grouped into five categories: personal income taxes, business income taxes, consumption taxes, up to 50 percent of natural resource revenue, and property taxes and miscellaneous.” What many people don’t know is that Quebec’s FEDERAL income tax rate is about the lowest in the country, its corporate incentives are very generous to attract investment, while its provincial rates are among the highest and its social spending, health and safety net programs are among the best … setting itself up as a “have-not” province, qualifying for HUGE federal Equalization subsidies … more than $13 BILLION in 2022-2023 alone, paid for largely by Ontario, Alberta and BC. Compare that with Equalization handed out to other “have not” provinces: Manitoba, $2.9 Billion; Nova Scotia $2.4 Billion; New Brunswick $2.3 Billion; and, PEI $503 Million. I believe most Canadians don’t mind helping out poorer provinces … but in Quebec’s case, I believe manipulating the system to rip off Ontario and the West to such a large extent is an industry!! And no one in Ottawa (or most provinces) have the guts to take them on. h.o)

  3. Not Sure says:

    Welcome back.

    Using your link from elections Canada by my calculation:

    BC should have 3.5 and Alberta 2.5 extra seats. Manitoba has 2 more seats than they deserve and Saskatchewan 3.5 extra seats. As a region, the West has the right number of seats.

    Ontario is out by 10 seats and Quebec has 1 more than it should so Central Canada is behind by 9 seats.

    Those 9 “should be Ontario” seats are all found in Atlantic Canada. PEI should have 1, at most 2 seats instead of 4. Its entire population is about the same as a typical Vancouver riding and its area is a fraction of my Northern BC riding so there is really no excuse for having 4 seats. The same is true for the other 3 Atlantic provinces.

    A case can be made for BC, Alberta and especially Ontario getting more seats.


    1. Give Ontario 10 seats, BC 4 seats and Alberta 3 seats. Some provinces will still be over represented but none will be under represented. I don’t know if we need 17 more MPS in Ottawa.

    2. Give BC and Alberta a couple of seats each at the expense of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and give Ontario a bunch of seats at the expense of Atlantic Canada. I can’t see that going over very well in the provinces that would be losing seats.

    But lest’s assume that each province/region was more fairly represented. What difference would it make?

    e.g. If BC had 47 seats, how will that prevent those 47 from being “sellouts to their parties’ Eastern/Central Canada interests: silent in the belief that the path to power (forget about ethics, principle and fairness) lies in Ontario’s 122 seats and the 78 in Quebec, plus the plumped up 30 seats in the Maritimes …”

    BC could have 4 extra seats but the path to power will always be through Ontario and Quebec as those two provinces along have 61% of the population and almost 59% of the seats, more if Ontario got what they deserve.

    (Response: Glad you took up the topic: was wondering when I wrote it what your perspective would be on this one, because we in BC know very well that even a one or two (or three!) seat difference can determine which party forms government. So weighting the voting power even slightly in favor of Quebec and the Maritimes can have a major impact on BC, Alberta and Ontario. Your proposed additions of seats for those three provinces will, of course, never be willingly accepted by those now favored by the existing system … unless WE start demanding a fairer deal, our federal MPs from ALL parties back up that demand …and the sleeping media wake up and start fighting and raising hell for BC … and not just be government messengers/propagandists. Just imagine how the Quebec media would carry on if that province was under-represented! h.o)

  4. daniel says:

    Great topic Harvey. I hope you had some good “r and r”.
    The disparity in representation in parliament between provinces, and especially BC, certainly is an eye opener that needs further discussion,investigation, and major changes to even out the playing field, no question. Your response to e.a.f. certainly caught my attention. Yikes. By the way, good stuff, Not Sure.
    Why does our media never seem to want to handle anything remotely controversial? Are they afraid to alienate their viewers and lose market share, is it budgetary constraints, lack of investigative reporters, or fear of a plummeting stock price? Or all of the above?
    I recall some of your news clips from Ottawa way back when Harvey. You certainly were not one of their favorite reporters, asking all those nasty questions, but I must say say you did a hell of a job.
    A side comment, if I’m allowed. Some of the latest female news anchors to be specific, (especially CTV), hardly seem old enough to vote. I’m not complaining, but I do find the credibility factor to be a bit of an issue. Maybe it’s just me.
    I’ve also noticed over the years that a lot of Quebec and Ontario ministers get the important portfolios, while none seem to go to people from BC, Alberta, and other western provinces. The same goes for the head jobs, say at CRTC for example, as well as many other non governmental agencies related to the federal government jurisdiction. Just a coincidence? Plum positions, for sure. Someone kindly correct me if I am wrong.
    Is there anything the general public can do, besides voting the present government out of office in the next election? What can be done to light a fire under the media’s rear ends here in BC? I thought this was part of their job description, for crying out loud. Frankly I’m getting a little tired of all the whale sightings, lost dog, and general pet population stories.
    At least could someone find out for me why pandas are no longer en vogue?

    (Response: Thanks for your comments … and memories. There is still some good political journalism in BC … mostly in the print media, and I do enjoy Mike Smyth on ‘NW. Sadly, when it comes to TV reporting, there is almost no one left to regularly do the type of hard political questioning, answers-demanding, and, if necessary, politician-chasing journalism that saw BCTV get to the bottom of REAL issues, show up government short-comings and refuse to be used for propaganda efforts … and thus, attracted a quarter of a million more viewers every night than I hear they get today! With so many more hours of “news” to provide, but not funded with the resources to do it properly, too much local TV today is just daily police-blotter yellow-tape-du-jour, endless press conferences, free government messaging and increasing numbers of “human interest” fillers … especially heavy these days with East Indian/Asian promotional puffery. Often looks to me more now like community television programming, rather than REAL news that breaks stories … and does not just regurgitate whatever was served up to them on a platter that day. h.o.)

    • e.a.f. says:

      Daniel, just because people are young doesn’t mean they are not credible. Even Harvey was young once upon a time. Now as to who these “young” broadcasters are, Mi Jung Lee is 55. Some of the younger reporters are at least in their mid twenties, which is not so young. When I look back to the time we aging baby boomers were starting our careers, some were in their mid twenties and running entire departments, working as health care professionals, managers, etc.

      Just because people are young doesn’t mean they aren’t credible. Your attitiude smacks of ageism.

      As the demographics change in this country, so does the advertising and targetting. After ignoring the South Asian community for decades, corporations are now discovering the community is part of our country, they have money to spend, and they had better take note. Now what they may produce is “puffery”,

      Yes, there is a lack of real news on the news stations. CBS has always done it in 30 minutes, going back to the Walter Chroncite days. Most of what is reportered as news isn’t news, as you point out it like a crime blotter. If newsrooms spent as much time reporting or investigating real issues, as they do non news who knows people might just watch the news and buy newspapers.

      I’m way off topic by now, however, what we see on the news is part of the reason politicians get away with what they do. Do we ever see investigative reporting on decisions politicians make? Do we ever see newscasters reporting on how the M.P.s., M.L.A.S vote on bills which impact our lives and who they are connected to. Not so much. Without decent reporting on the matters of concern in our country, we just reamin uninformed unless we are reading independent reporters, i.e bloggers, etc.

      Even with the crime blotter news, it is frequently incomplete in that arrested people are arrested, some are charged but even in big cases, we don’t know what happens later. Were deals made wth the criminals, did they turn and give evidence against their partners in crime and get off scot free. It might be interesting to know what happens. If we knew about the deals made with criminals we might not be in the drug problem we are today. People might be very upset. It might just be important to hold politicians accountable for their actions, but the MSM isn’t up to the task.

      (Response: Nothing wrong with being a new reporter or young: as you state, even I was both at one time! BUT the difference is almost All of the young, inexperienced journalists/reporters used to START in smaller markets and had to prove themselves before getting jobs at newspapers or radio or tv stations in larger markets. That’s why the quality served up to readers, listeners and viewers was fairly high. Today, so many young, inexperienced “wannabes” working in large markets like Vancouver (other cities across Canada and the US too) are TERRIBLE: they are clearly unfamiliar with topics they cover, can’t even pronounce some place names properly or ask quality questions … and, frankly, too many seem to get jobs just because they check off other boxes: ethnicity, colour, sex. I believe that denies other potentially good and well experienced people fair opportunities … and, sadly, that’s why we now see, maybe 10 minutes a day of REAL news, and then so much “community-tv” type crap (ethnic puffery and propaganda) being served up to the listeners/viewers as “news”. And that, I believe DISRESPECTS the listeners/viewers, even their once-proud networks … and journalism! h.o)

  5. Just out of curiosity Harv how do you think the b.c. Provincial boundary allocations will shake out. Do you think there will be provincial govt interference on this front?

    (Response: I believe BC’s electoral officials are today largely very fair and independent. BUT after personally being involved in covering … uncovering … and reporting some of the machinations around “Gracie’s finger”, I cannot say for certain that politicians, strategists, others won’t ever try to influence decisions made by election officials. And I would not be surprised if their pressure does yield results. Federally, it’s not the officials who FIX the system, it’s the rules/regulations they must work under, where the FIX has been done. But at least we are nothing like the US, where the setting of boundaries (gerrymandering) and even the running of elections (polling locations, numbers of voting booths, voter ID requirements, advance and mail-in voting etc.) are highly politicized in some states verging on corrupting their democracy. h.o)

  6. Thanks for your thoughts. I am old enough to remember Gracie’s finger. Also the b.c. Liberals during the previous provincial electoral boundary allocations told officials they could not amalgamate smaller, rural, interior boundaries or even eliminate them. Supposedly the libs thought that these lesser ridings needed to have adequate representation… not to forget they are all lib ridings! The current govt has told boundary examiners to ignore that and in doing so reversed the previous libs directives which I guess means that previous govt intervention is eliminated. With rep-by-pop we will witness a reduction of a few lib rural, interior strongholds and the addition of a few urban dipper friendly ridings. I have the earplugs at the ready for the screeching of scalded cats (this fall I believe).

  7. D. M. Johnston says:

    So we get screwed again, the sad fact is, those BC elected MP’s are nothing short than useless; so much happening, so little being done, except for Trudeau shoveling more money off the back of the truck into the first nations little hands.

    The NDP? Just passing time and thanks for the paycheck and raise.

    The Liberals? Want another billion dollars?

    The Conservatives? We love Trump, join us on the next Freedom Convoy!

    The BQ? We want, we want and we will stamp our lil feet until we get it.

    The Greens? More interested in Israeli and Jewish politics than the environment.

    Reminds me of an old cartoon in MAD magazine, “Don’t vote, it only encourages them”.

    How has this country devolved into this so sad state of affairs!

    Did the pensioners, those who are now have a stark choice, either pay rent or buy food, get a raise with their meager pensions?

    I gather from some contacts that Trudeau and the Liberals were not happy that their giving more money to the First nations did not get sufficient “news time” due to the mass death event on another First nations reservation.

    So much going wrong in Canada, yet so little being done about it.

    (Response: Make no mistake about it: politicians of every party respond to public and media pressures. The problem in BC is there is very little pressure from either: people are so caught up in just trying to make ends meet (among the highest home prices, highest rents, highest gas prices, highest grocery costs) they don’t have time/interest in fighting for federal fairness/justice; and much of the media is so underfunded, understaffed, under-experienced … and so controlled from back East now, they are more consumed by “wokeness” than fighting for BC rights. There was very good reason that Frank Griffiths fought so hard to have a major presence CONTROLLED in BC/West to take up OUR issues … including our own full-time bureau on Parliament Hill, and I was proud to be part of that presence/efforts … raising/fighting/giving BC a LOUD presence that could not be ignored. Now that’s all gone, so it’s very easy for “our” MPs to just feather their own nests, and be subservient to their Central Canada party masters who cater to Ontario and Quebec. I have been thinking of how different this week’s Trudeau/Liberals trip to Vancouver would have been if I (or Clem Chapple or Neil Adams or Jack Webster etc.) were still there with a camera crew, a microphone … and supportive management! And I’d bet the local ratings would still be phenomenal. h.o)

  8. daniel says:

    Harvey, if you will allow me. I will not be offended if you decide not to print this.
    My apology. I should have provided more details regarding my comment about younger news anchors to make my point better understood. I was already thinking this comment may be off topic so I didn’t go into a lengthy explanation. I did not mean to imply that they were not credible because they were young, only that the presentation of the news, usually a serious topic, would “seem” more credible coming from an older individual, say with more life experience, and who “looked” more serious. It’s the presentation of the news, not the person who is presenting it, if that makes sense. Maybe it’s just a perception thing.
    I did not just dream this up e.a.f.. I usually don’t go around willy nilly spouting things off that are without facts or validity. There have been studies and reports done by professionals, one of which I read several years ago based on credible studies and research exactly on this subject. Too long ago to provide names and dates.
    I did not mention anyone by name, only that they look young to me. That was it. Ageism is prejudice or discrimination because of a person’s age. I’m pretty sure I did not do that, and I do not have an attitude. What gives you the right to say this e.a,f.? You don’t even know me.
    You mention Walter Cronkite in your comment. He was known as the most trusted man in America, during his time. Take a look at his photo.
    I often have been hesitant to write on this blog because I never wanted to be personally criticized for something I may have inadvertently said that offended them. And now here we are.
    I refuse to play the he said she said game, so have at it, if you must, e.a.f.. I’ve had my say and will not be writing further on this topic, so knock yourself out. You should know however that you were way off base.

    (Response: It’s called “gravitas”: a journalistic term applied to newspaper writers/columnists or on-air personnel, based on not just age, but knowledge and experience … and the ability to project that. So when a crisis or major historical event develops, the public BELIEVE them. Cronkite had it; I feel Tony Parsons and Peter Mansbridge had it; Mi Jung Li, Keith Baldrey, Vaughn Palmer, Mike Smyth, Ian Hanamansingh and Adrienne Arsenault have it … sorry, but I do not feel Chris Gailus, Andrew Chang do … and nor do MOST of the reporters we now see on air, whose background knowledge, questioning abilities, writing skills and, thus, reporting abilities are so below standard for MAJOR market stations. And if they got hired just because they checked off other boxes: colour, ethnicity … all the more the shame for those stations/network. h.o)

    • e.a.f. says:

      Yes, here we are. I’m not going to “knock myself out” or have at er. I expresssed an opinion based on what your wrote. Its an honest impression. Very few of us know each other on this blog, which actually is a nice thing. We give different opinions, etc. Some of us exchange “opininions” very vigorously. Prior to his death we had a contributor who I did not agree with on many things. If we agreed on something it was twice a year. Sometimes in a good year it was four time. Now that he has passed away, I miss him. He had opinions and contributed a lot of ideas, thoughts, etc. even though they were different then mine. Part of writing to a blog is the exchange of ideas, opinions, etc. It is doubtful any of us are trying to insult each other or be mean, etc. Most of us have never met. No one agrees with some one every time on every topic. That is what makes it interesting. Please do keep participating, Its good to read other’s opinions and please remember its not personal.

  9. Not Sure says:

    For the record, Parliament increased by five seats. BC and Ontario each got one and Alberta got the other three. The other seven provinces got nothing. I have no idea why Alberta got 3 but as I understand it, the electoral commission applies a formula to determine each province’s seat count – the population after the most recent census divided by some magic number. Then they apply those weird rules. So BC deserves 43 Alberta 37 and Ontario 122. And that is what we got. Semantics here but it’s not that we are under represented. It is the other 7 provinces after applying the weird rules that are over represented.

    We can pick on PEI. A province of 160,000 in an area of 5,000 sq km. I looked up your riding of Vancouver Granville. Wikipedia gives stats from the 2011 census. Granville had 99,000 people. I am sure it has gone up. My riding of Skeena Bulkley Valley had 90,000, Might have gone up as well but certainly not as much as Vancouver. Using those numbers PEI should get 2 not 4 as it does because of weird rules. And it will always get 4. If we apply the formula PEI will need to at least triple its population before it gets 5. They haven’t even doubled the population in our lifetime.

    But here’s where it gets interesting. Urban ridings are under represented. Your Granville riding is typical. It will exceed the magic number formula while a more rural riding like Skeena Bulkley Valley will have fewer people. But your MP could walk the perimeter of your riding in a morning to meet with constituents. My MP has to drive from just west of Vanderhoof all the way to Prince Rupert (600km) and stop at Burns Lake Houston Smithers Terrace Kitimat and Prince Rupert before hoping a plane or ferry to reach Haida Gwaii, And that is ignoring remote communities like Bella Coola and Bella Bella and far north communities like Stewart and Atlin. My riding takes up about 1/4 the area of BC, about 70 PEIs! The other northern riding takes up most of the area east of Prince George and into the Peace region but it also includes a strip along the Rockies down to Fernie. (As a comparison, Labrador which is smaller than Skeena and has a population of about 26,000 gets an MP)

    How do you balance population and area to determine riding boundaries.Two MPs represent about half of the province’s area even though by population they represent on average far fewer people than any other riding, especially those in bigger urban areas?

    Quebec. Just thinking out loud here but Quebec has more MPs than it should, It retains seats because a province can’t go below its previous total. Quebec’s % of the population is declining. I always thought of Quebec as having 25% of the population. Now it is down to 22%. It may have something to do with birth rate but it may have something to do with immigration and migration. Why isn’t Quebec growing its population like BC, Alberta, and Ontario? (I think I know your answer.)

    Last ramble. While I see the disparity that favours some provinces over BC, Alberta, and Ontario, I am not sure exactly how this 10 year process proves that BC is screwed again. Just using numbers. 43 seats in a now 343 seat parliament is 12.5%. Let’s take away 20 seats from the seven provinces that are over represented. In a parliament of 323 seats our 43 seats would represent 13.3%. That is hardly worth stewing over. I am more interested in situations where the federal government is actually harming BC, and our voices – MPs or media or especially citizens – are being ignored.

    Lately, you have been mad at your city hall/parks board and the provincial government for a wide variety of reasons. But when you go after the federal government say on vaccine rollout, the response to China or the Russian invasion of Ukraine, these are issues that don’t single out BC. The equalization formula has always been an issue but I am trying to figure out where BC interests get ignored any more than any other province. And where these occur, how can a province with about 13% of the population get its concerns addressed.

    (Response: Governance in any “federation” system always carries with it conflicts between provinces or states, regions and the national government when it comes to power, spending and jurisdictions. Sometimes the formula regulating power is pre-set constitutionally or by legislation: so the “fix” is indeed in, right from the start .. or, in the case of Quebec, deliberately “adjusted” in 1985 to protect their power/advantages. Why??? How could BC …the provincial government, “our” MPs allow that? Not scream like hell …and refuse to go along?? Or speak up now, as our population growth rate skyrockets beyond Quebec and the Maritimes, and DEMAND the formula be amended NOW to remove the special clauses that guaranteed them so many extra seats, even as and if their population drops as a percentage of Canada’s. It should be representation by population … period!! Otherwise, I believe if current population and economic trends continue, and the disparities in power become much more pronounced, there WILL be increasing pressures in Alberta and BC to take our billions and go! And that will get ugly. h.o.)

  10. e.a.f. says:

    Harvey, your “question” regarding Quebec and things being “adjusted in 1985 to protect their power, etc. The answer is real easy, Brian Mulroney was P.M. and his power base at the time was Quebec. As I recall, there was an article I read following the Christmas Eve service at the Cathederal in Montreal. It reported that the position of the seating was such that Mulroney was “bove the salt”, while the P.M. a Liberal was seated
    “below the salt”. As you can read, I never forgot that statement and how Quebec at the time was able to weld a lot of power. The writer also, at the time, suggested the Conservatives would win the election and the Liberals lose. Viola, Mulroney became P.M. My take on things is Mulroney “rewarded” Quebec.

    As to Alberta and B.C., leaving Canada, its a possibility but not a probability. Alberta has talked about leaving but it wouldn’t do them much good unless B.C. went with them. As to B.C. leaving I can remember a time when it was suggested California, Oregon, Washington State, and B.C. could leave their respective countries and make a good go of it on their own. There are enough Albertans on Vancouver Island that I think it could have an impact on politics if more come. Vancouver Island leaving on its own, might be a nice idea but not great.

    Mulroney wasn’t stupid, more crafty than most and perhaps saw where things might head and he protected what he could. Hasb’t helped the Conservatives much, but then the Conservatives haven’t had a popular leader either.

    (Response: Mulroney was PM ..but he did not have the power to effect Constitutional changes pandering to Quebec on his own: the the provinces went along; and so did the “Opposition” parties … including BC’s MPs!! If only THEY stood up and SPOKE up for BC ..then and now … on OUR behalf the way Quebec’s MPs speak up for their people/province! We may not like the results they achieve, but we should admire their dedication, motivation and success! While DEMANDING answers … and backbones … from our own! h.o)

  11. RIsaak says:

    Many items in our nation leave me scratching my noggin in amazement!
    Quebec & the Maritimes get over represented, however the tact chosen by many Quebec leaders has opened many doors of dubious nature caused 100% by the calculated extortion forced upon the rest of the nation. The notwithstanding clause is confederate cancer. Now D Smith is harnessing public disdain in Alberta suggesting she is choosing the path of “special narcissistic stupidity” shown mostly in history by Quebec.

    I suggest confederation is tenuous at best while many MP’s & others twiddle their thumbs fearing Quebec’s next sketchy & questionable usage of the notwithstanding clause for purely racist motives.

    Our media today is all over FN people & the wrongs committed upon them by govts. bent on changing the lives of FN people to force assimilation into colonial Canada, but only crickets when Quebec makes plays to stifle other languages and customs for simply not being Francophone focused?

    Confederation & our governance hang in the balance as many choose to be apathetic about the glaring double standards employed by successive Quebec Premiers.

    The canary in the confederate coal mine has already expired, try as many do to distract from the elephant of reality, we all need a correction to reign in the continual boorish behaviour of Quebec, otherwise we’ll see more nonsense like Ms.Smith & co. Are pedalling today.

    (Response: I understand Quebec’s language police (I wonder if they wear brown shirts?) are now empowered to raid without notice the office of any company with more than 25 employees and immediately examine any computers, cell phones, papers to ensure all workers are communicating amongst themselves in French … even they are English-speaking. Yet, where are our federal parties/leaders??? As you say, crickets. They talk of court challenges that, with the notwithstanding clause invoked and a very weak, liberal Supreme Court, they will probably lose. Otherwise, crickets. But can you imagine what we would be hearing day in and day out from Trudeau and Singh and May and Charest if BC or Alberta passed legislation against the use of French ANYTHING close to the what the racists in Quebec have done to outlaw the use of English!!! Not to mention …but let’s … Quebec’s anti-Sikh, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim laws that keep so many of observant minorities from ANY public jobs … in government offices, hospitals, police, Hydro workers, even prevents them from driving buses! Disgraceful! But again, almost crickets from our “leaders”. h.o)

  12. Not Sure says:

    Pierre Poilievre is right when he says he will introduce legislation to make government documents more readable. Here is the grandfather clause that gives more seats to some provinces.

    “If the number of members assigned to a province by the application of rule 1 and section 51A is less than the total number assigned to that province on the date of the coming into force of the Constitution Act, 1985 (Representation), there shall be added to the number of members so assigned such number of members as will result in the province having the same number of members as were assigned on that date.”

    Say what? In short, a province can never have fewer seats than they had at the time of the passing of the Constitution Act in 1985. And I don’t know if we can blame Mulroney. This had probably been supported by the provinces during the discussions leading up to the repatriation of the constitution in 1982. And it was meant to protect all provinces. It shouldn’t matter that so far only 7 provinces have needed that protection.

    So now my curiosity needs scratching. In the 1984 election when we had 282 seats. Quebec had 75 seats down 3 from today. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the four Atlantic provinces had exactly the same number as they do now. Since 1984, we have added about 60 seats and all but four (Nunavut has one now) were given to BC Alberta and Ontario.

    I looked at 1972, the first time I could vote, and Quebec was at 74 and Saskatchewan and Manitoba were down one to 13 but the four Atlantic provinces were the same.

    So I went back to 1953, the first election in my lifetime. Saskatchewan had 17 (now 14) and Nova Scotia had 12 (now 11). Quebec was back at 75. All the rest were the same.

    What does all this mean? Over 100 seats have been added since 1953 and pretty much every single one has gone to BC Alberta or Ontario. Deservedly mind you.

    I am not justifying anything here. On the surface it doesn’t seem fair. The government decided in 1985 that a province wouldn’t lose the number of representatives they already had. So today, Quebec has 7 more than they should have. Saskatchewan and Manitoba a combined 6 more. The Atlantic provinces combined 9 more. I separated them that way to show that proportionally Quebec is not the big winner. With a population almost twice as much as those other six provinces Quebec gains only 7 seats compared to the 16 for the other 6.

    Another thing. Going back to 1972 when Quebec was coming out of the Quiet Revolution and heading toward the 1980 referendum, Quebec had 74 seats, BC and Alberta combined had just 42, not much more than half of Quebec. Now BC and Alberta combined have 80 compared to Quebec’s 78. Quebec’s power through parliamentary representation continues to diminish despite those extra 7 seats.

    I don’t know Harvey. On the surface I can see why you are upset. But I can see why some provinces need to have their voices protected as demographics work against them.

    (Response: I chuckled at your line ” some provinces need to have their voices protected”. If there’s one thing Quebec does NOT need is louder voices in Ottawa! Kudos to Quebec MPs and the Francophone media for SHOUTING Quebec’s interests to the rafters, at every press conference, every event, every debate, every committee meeting in Ottawa …or anywhere else n the country. The last thing Quebec needs is MORE voices, especially when you agreed earlier that “Quebec has 7 (MPs) more than they should have”. If only BC had such devotion/representation by our MPs or media!! True, the Maritimes also have more seats than they proportionately should have, but their numbers are nowhere as significant as Quebec’s “overage” and Ontario’s “under-representation” in determining who (which party) forms government and takes power each election. And, as we learned in BC not that long ago, a difference of just three seats can mean the difference between gaining power or being the Opposition. h.o)

  13. Not Sure says:

    To be clear, I am not taking sides here. I am just trying to determine the facts.

    After some of the comments from you and others I thought this is more about Quebec gaining seats than it is about Nova Scotia or PEI or Saskatchewan and the others who have gained seats. Which made me wonder why Quebec had 78 seats. According to the 1985 legislation a province can never go below the number of seats it had as of 1985. Quebec had 75 seats then. So why 78 instead 75?

    If you can’t be bothered reading that…

    After the 2011 census, somebody realized that “the 1985 formula did not fully take into account the rapid population growth being experienced in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.”

    They tinkered with the formula. Under the old formula, the number of MPs was to increase from 308 to 315. All 7 would have gone to BC Alberta and Ontario. Instead a new formula gave us 338 seats, again all 23 of them going to BC Alberta and Ontario.


    They added another amendment call the representation act. When they added all those seats some provinces – well one, Quebec, – was now under represented compared to its population, so it was increased to 78.


    In March of this year, another amendment passed. Apparently the formula after the 2021 census, works out that Quebec should get only 77 seats when you factor in the representation act. The House passed a bill allowing Quebec to keep that 78th seat.

    I will not criticize Mulroney for the 1985 legislation. It was meant to ensure that no province would lose seats if its population didn’t grow fast enough. It applied to all provinces although only 7 have benefited.

    I am not going to criticize Harper. His legislation gave a big boost to under represented BC Alberta and Ontario. We may not like the 3 seats given to Quebec, but I can understand, given its uniqueness, that the % of seats in the House should match the % of its share of the population of Canada.

    However, in Trudeau’s case, I have no idea why we needed to let Quebec retain a seat when there is absolutely no justification to do so.

    Hope some of this helps.

  14. daniel says:

    I find RIsaak’s comment very interesting as well as your response, Harvey. The paragraph starting with “confederation & our governance hang in the balance”…. is quite thought provoking.
    King Charles the third has just been crowned and the First Nations Leadership Council will soon be calling on him to discuss the Doctrine of Discovery drawn up in the 1400’s. They want it to be changed or revoked so that they can reclaim their land which was stolen from them by England and France. They sure aren’t wasting any time. The media is reporting this but I’m not holding my breath to see if anybody will be asking any questions. The ramifications of this are beyond huge affecting all three countries, not to mention other countries in the world that may have similar histories.
    This week the Squamish nation had a ceremony, which was televised, breaking ground for a project that will change the face of Kitsilano forever. I don’t have a problem with this, however it was also announced by Trudeau and the liberal government that they qualified for a below the rate interest loan of over a billion dollars to help them finance it. This on the same week that the Bank of Canada raised interest rates, and will most likely be doing so again in the near future, which we know affects almost everyone Canada. Done in the spirit of reconciliation.
    Once again, is the media going to investigate not even just a little bit? Does this not merit some kind of discussion as to how this deal fell into that equation and how it was negotiated? I haven’t heard a peep yet. Just report it, don’t ask anything, and move on.
    I’m not saying it isn’t legitimate, but I do have a couple of questions.

    (Response: I believe Trudeau’s pandering to First Nations and all the billions he had been handing out could provide fertile fodder for Poilievre with millions of voters if he becomes the new Conservative leader. The question is: would he use it? As for the Doctrine of Discovery, I have no doubt Charles will say/do NOTHING to advance even discussions of that issue. But Trudeau, I’m not so sure! h.o)

    • D. M. Johnston says:

      Two quick points:

      1) Charles III is a constitutional monarch and cannot rescind the “doctrine of Discovery”, as it is up to the UK Parliament to do this.

      The big, big mistake being made is that our king cannot make law or alter law. he can influence government but that is about it.

      2) Harv is absolutely right about the public voting for Poilievre’s conservatives and the public/taxpayer is tired of the on going “Dane-Geld” being paid to the first nations for every evidence.


      There is a dangerous game being played in Canada and Trudeau and his utterly weak ministers are quickly falling into the trap, the end game of the first nations is to declare that property rights are null and void in Canada as all the land belongs to the first nations.

      The amount of propaganda, the Tyee is now a good example, pandering to the first nations is feeding the the disinformation campaign and as i said before, it will all end badly for the first nations.

      Harv has mentioned in an earlier post the many government funded perks for First Nations that are not available for the common Canadian.

      Greed has now replaced common sense with reconciliation and the public, I believe are growing tired at the continuing grift.

      (Response: My next Blog, being posted Monday morning, will deal with the choice of Pierre Poilievre as new Conservative leader … and a couple of notable aspects of his speech the mainstream media have failed to sufficiently zero in on so far. h.o)

  15. e.a.f. foster says:

    I’m sure King Charles won’t do anything to “advance even discussions of that issue” . He isn’t interested in millions of people of English, Scottish, Welsh, etc. descent going “back to where they came from”. I’m sure some other royals from other countries would be giving him a call–dont’ do it, don’t do it. We don’t want them all back. Having known since I was a kid how Europeans got the land in North America, I always wondered what if a court decided we had to give it all back and get out and then apply to get back in. Even as a kid it made me laugh.

    If Poilievre is elected leader and if he became prime minister he would most likely just cut the budgets which “gave” Indigenous Peoples the money. Just like his good buddy , Stephen Harper, did. He did deliberately pay bands less for the care and education of children on reserves than he did provinces for children, Conservatives have not been good when it comes to social programs, funding for things society needs, etc.
    At least we got health care, a new E.I. program in 1971, and federal pensions from the federal Liberals. Dont’ recall any social programs the P.C.s or Conservatives ever got behind and passed. Once Harper came into office, one of the first things he did was defund all women’s organizations in Canada the federal government had financed. Ya, I knew things would not be going well.
    Poilievre was a strong supporter of Harpers and my exceptation is, if he were elected P.M. we would be right back where we were with Harper. That is not a fate I’m interested in looking forward to. Some of those Conservatives have a view of things no so different from the MAGA crowd. I’m not up for that.

    Sometimes there is no good choice in P.M. but there is usually one who is less harmful and that in this case, is Trudeau. Others have no chance of winning because Quebec parties don’t run candidates outside of Quebec and the NDP isn’t going to win, it just isn’t.

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