Friday, October 14, 2011

Seat allocation is only as hard as you want it to be

Updated (Sat. a.m.) below.

If what Ibbitson is saying today is correct, that federal seat reallocation legislation is going to be too late to add new seats by the time of the 2015 election, that will be a major failing on the part of the Harper government. It's been clearly identified that there are provinces that are underrepresented in the Commons: Alberta, B.C., Ontario. If they fail, with a majority government, to add those seats and simultaneously deal with the concerns of Quebec, they'll have shown that they sure can wheel out those nifty War of 1812 apps but when it comes to the basic questions of representative governance, they're checking out. They're not up to the job.

Based on Ibbitson's slant, the government is apparently willing to blame the difficulty of addressing the Quebec factor in the seat allocation as the cause for delay in bringing the legislation forth. Looks like blame Quebec will be their answer to the other provinces on why it couldn't be done for 2015. It appears that Mr. Harper would rather divide the nation than lead.

If he needs a solution, that Mowat Centre report that Ibbitson mentions might be the way to go. Or, Bob Rae was talking about a solution in the summer which didn't get a lot of attention given that it was the summer, etc. If people want to get this done, they can be creative and do it.

What a failure this will be if they don't get it done for 2015.

Update (Sat. a.m.): Le Devoir followed up on the Globe piece and has this in their Saturday report: "Un article du Globe and Mail rapportait hier que le gouvernement, inquiet de la réaction de la province quant au retour de son initiative, songeait désormais à retarder le dépôt de son projet de loi. Mais aux bureaux de M. Van Loan et de M. Uppal, on a soutenu que le plan de match n'avait pas changé." Meaning that the Conservative plan, as announced by Van Loan in September, to pass this legislation by Christmas has not changed, according to Van Loan & Uppal's offices on Friday. So if the legislation passes before the end of the year, as the session ends, that would mean the new seats would be created in time for 2015. Maybe whoever was talking to Ibbitson was floating a trial balloon on delaying the law and they saw that it was going over like the lead balloon it was.

Also from Le Devoir's report, Harper confirmed at an event yesterday in Peterborough that they are indeed considering more seats for Quebec.