01 June 2011

Don't mess with my vote, Jack

With 59 of their 103 seats in Quebec, we could expect the NDP to pay close attention to Quebec's concerns. That would, of course, be appropriate. But what I wouldn't have expected them to do is propose eroding the democratic rights of the rest of us in order to favour that province. This is what Jack Layton has proposed with his suggestion that the government give Quebec more seats in the House of Commons.

With 24.4 per cent of the seats for 23.2 per cent of the Canadian population, Quebec is fairly represented in the House. Furthermore, its share of the population is decreasing.

Democracy is nothing less than equal political power and one citizen/one vote is the embodiment of that principle. Now it appears Mr. Layton is willing to sacrifice my political equality for his political gain. First-past-the-post has already reduced the value of my vote to essentially zero in federal elections, and the only hope I have of giving it meaning is a system of proportional representation. And that is one of the reasons I support the NDP. Of the three major parties, it has been the strongest advocate of PR. Gaining a fair vote via a new voting system and then having it undermined by giving a piece of it to Quebeckers is something I would have trouble accepting quietly.

I hope this is just Jack talking off the top of his head and not voicing an NDP policy. As a policy it would do a pretty good job of alienating voters in Ontario and the West, i.e. where the population is growing, and thus reducing the NDP's chance of ever forming a national government.

So by all means, Jack, let the party be a good representative for Quebec, but not by sacrificing the democratic rights of the rest of us. Don't become the new Bloc. Forget you ever tossed the idea out and never mention it again. We'll forget you said it and move on.


  1. I have to agree with you. The NDP should not out-Bloc the Bloc.

  2. However, if Harper goes ahead with his plans to add 30 more seats in HoC (I thought he was for smaller government???), 75/338= 4.5% we'll be seriously underrepresented in parliament. Rest of Canada seems to be just A-ok with that. What's good for the goose isn't good for the gander?

  3. sorry, my bad. The Calculator didn't quite work. works out to somewhere at 22%, still underrepresentative though.

  4. Bill, don't blame Jack. It's in his nature. This is politics as he understands it, as he has always practised it and all the little Jacobins that swell the NDP ranks love him for it.

    Besides, Jack is just getting started with this Quebec thing. What's that wheezy noise I hear? Of course, it's Parizeau chuckling in the corner.