The Standing Committee on
Procedure and House Affairs has the honour to present its
Pursuant to the Electoral Boundaries
Readjustment Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. E-3, as amended, the Committee has
considered the matter of the objections to the Report of the Federal
Electoral Boundaries Commission for Quebec, 2003.
After each decennial census an electoral
boundaries commission is established for each province. The Chief Electoral Officer calculates the
number of Members of the House of Commons assigned to each province according
to the provisions of section 51 of the Constitution Act, 1867. Following advertisements and representations
from interested persons, each commission prepares a report on the division of
the province into electoral districts based on population and corresponding as
closely as reasonably possible to the quotient of Members per population for
In its considerations, each commission is to
take into account the community of interest or community of identity or the
historical pattern of an electoral district in the province, as well as what
constitutes a manageable geographic size in cases of sparsely populated, rural
or northern regions. The commission may
depart by a variance of up to plus or minus 25% of the quotient in order to
accommodate such circumstances.
Each commission’s report is forwarded to the
Chief Electoral Officer, who in turn sends it to the Speaker of the House of
Commons, who tables the report in the House.
The report is referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House
In accordance with the Electoral
Boundaries Readjustment Act, after each commission report has been tabled
in the House of Commons, Members of the House of Commons have 30 calendar
days in which to file objections to the proposals contained in each
report. The Act requires that
objections must be in the form of a motion, in writing, specify the provisions
of the report objected to and the reasons for the objection, and must be signed
by not less than 10 Members of the House.
If objections are filed, the Committee has
30 sitting days, or such longer period of time as may be approved by the
House of Commons, to consider the objections.
Following this, the commission report, the objections, and the minutes
of proceedings and evidence are returned to the Speaker, who transmits them to
the Chief Electoral Officer. The Chief
Electoral Officer returns the material to the relevant electoral boundaries
commission, which has 30 days in which to dispose of the objections. The commission then finalizes its report.
Once all the commission reports have been
finalized, the Chief Electoral Officer prepares a draft representation order
setting out the boundaries and names of the new electoral districts. This is sent to the Governor in Council, who
must proclaim it within five days. No
changes can be made by the Chief Electoral Officer or the Government. The representation order comes into effect
one year after it is proclaimed, and is in force for any federal general
election called after that date.
The Report of the Federal Electoral
Boundaries Commission for Quebec, 2003 was tabled in the House of Commons
on March 28, 2003. By the end of the 30-day period, the Clerk of the Committee
had received 31 objections. The
Subcommittee on Electoral Boundaries Readjustment of the Standing Committee on
Procedure and House Affairs was appointed to consider these objections. This report contains the comments and
recommendations of the Subcommittee, as adopted by the Committee, on the
proposed changes for the Province of Quebec contained in the Report of the
Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Quebec, 2003.
In reviewing the proposed ridings for the
Province of Quebec, it became evident that one of the problems that the
Commission faced was the issue of equity between urban and rural voters. It was also obvious that the Commission
placed a high premium on attempting to ensure that the greatest possible number
of ridings be within 10% of the electoral quotient.
The Commission stated in its report that for
effective representation, “the political weight must be granted to individuals:
one person — one vote.” This standard
clearly influenced the Commission’s decisions in setting out the proposed
electoral boundaries. In general, this
is not an objectionable policy.
However, in our opinion, the Commission should take greater advantage of
other factors available to it under the legislation.
The Commission is legislatively mandated to
depart from the general rule that the population of a riding is to correspond,
as closely as reasonably possible, to the provincial quotient. Specifically, a Commission may depart from
this rule “in order to maintain manageable geographic size for ridings in sparsely
populated, rural or northern regions of the province.” Not taking sufficient advantage of this
option has resulted in certain proposed ridings where efficient and effective
representation becomes more difficult.
Of even greater concern to this Committee is
the fact that the Commission has failed to take advantage of another
legislative option that we view as essential, particularly in the rural areas
of Quebec. The Commission is mandated
to form ridings that fall below the provincial quotient by more than 25%, in
circumstances that are deemed extraordinary.
Not one of the ridings in Quebec was formed by taking advantage of this
option. We are of the opinion that this has resulted in ridings that would
become impossible to represent effectively, and has ripple effects in
In our opinion, it is also surprising that
the Commission has almost never adopted the status quo by leaving the current
electoral ridings as they presently drawn.
Everyone involved in the process of redrawing electoral boundaries
quickly becomes aware of how difficult such an undertaking can become and how
disruptive it can be for citizens, Members of Parliament, and others. One would hope that under these circumstances,
a Commission would opt for the status quo, particularly in cases where the
ridings in a specific area would all fall within 25% of the provincial quotient
(and in many cases much closer to this quotient).
Quebec, particularly Montreal, offers many
opportunities where the status quo can be preserved, without compromising in
any way the objectives of the legislation.
Clearly, everyone would agree that such a situation is preferable to
proceeding with wholesale changes that are often disruptive and do not ensure
better representation. In fact, we are
of the opinion that the proposals made by the Commission would lead to less
effective representation in Quebec because of its strict reliance on the
provincial quotient. In addition, many
of the proposals lead to boundaries that cross areas where it is clear there
iss a community of interest and historical bonds.
Our recommendations clearly lead to many
changes in Quebec. For example, we
unanimously supported the transfer of a riding from the Laval region to a rural
part of Quebec. Another unanimous
recommendation in relation to Manicouagan would have a cascading effect to
several ridings, up to and including Portneuf.
We are of the opinion that the options we have set out are in full
conformity with the legislative provisions and, more importantly, better permit
effective representation. In addition,
our changes allow a much better affinity and are better reflective of the
province’s great history.
One of the most difficult decisions we faced
was where to allocate the new riding that resulted in our changes to the Laval
area. There were two regions to which
this riding could be allocated, both very deserving. Both areas presented compelling arguments for retaining their
current ridings. We note that the
current ridings of the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean area have a population of
288,000 divided among four ridings, meaning an average of just over 70,000 per
riding. In the Lanaudière and Mauricie
region, there are currently seven ridings representing 644,000 people,
meaning an average of just over 90,000.
Based on these calculations, certain members of the Subcommittee were of
the opinion that the argument in relation to the Mauricie region was more
compelling. The Subcommittee was
unable, however, to reach unanimity regarding this delicate issue.
One of the issues that retained our attention
was the Commission’s preferences in choosing names for ridings. For example, it would appear that the
Commission was not willing to accept the combination of more than two
names. In addition, the use of cardinal
points such as East, West, etc. appear to not have been permitted. As the objections and our recommendations
will make obvious, while certain general rules are to be preferred, too much
reliance on them can create unnecessary problems and give the impression of
arbitrariness. Promoting an affinity
and attachment to a riding is one of the crucial elements of this process and
it is impeded when changes are made without any proper basis.
Some of our comments may be interpreted as
critical of the Commission’s work. This
was not our intention, however.
Sometimes strong wording is the only way to convey our opinion that a
change is needed. In addition, we are
well aware, having done this for several weeks now, how difficult such a
process can be. We would like to
accommodate every concern, but that is not always possible. Some difficult choices are required, and
change is never easily accepted. The
one point we would emphasize, however, is that while this is a process of
change, there is nothing wrong with maintaining the status quo, and in fact it
is the preferable option when it is available.
Change for the sake of change is not an appropriate justification for
having such a disruptive affect on communities.
A factor that cannot be ignored is
that all 14 Members of Parliament on the island of Montreal had signed a letter
requesting that the status quo be maintained. While the legislation does not
discuss maintaining the status quo, we are of the opinion that this is the
preferable option when the circumstances permit it. The island of Montreal appears to be a perfect candidate for
maintaining the status quo. The
objections we received in relation to the island of Montreal are discussed
below, followed by our recommendations for the entire area.
Mrs. Marlene Jennings, Member of
Parliament for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, appeared before the Subcommittee to
object to the removal of part of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce from the proposed riding
explained how Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is, in and of itself, a community with an
extremely long history. While it merged
with the city of Montreal long ago, it has always maintained its identity and
specificity, not only in the riding but also nationally, through the work of
its many community organizations. She
argued that based on its long history, it is almost impossible to see how the
Commission’s proposed boundaries could be justified in light of the
Mrs. Jennings also
explained how the Décarie Expressway forms a natural border to the east of the
riding. She stated that her position is
firmly supported by organizations and individuals in the riding, including
unanimous support of the city councillors of the Borough of Côte-des-Neiges.
Our findings are that
there is no doubt that there is a strong community of interest, community
affiliation and strong community identification in relation to
Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. The current
population of the riding is well within acceptable variations and the transfer
of part of such an historic community to another riding is not desirable. The riding, as it now stands, has a
population of approximately 101,000 residents, 5.6% over the provincial
quotient. Finally, as stated by Mrs.
Jennings, her position is firmly supported by the community, a fact that should
not be ignored.
Ms. Eleni Bakopanos,
Member of Parliament for Ahuntsic, appeared before the Subcommittee to object
to the proposed changes to the eastern end of the riding of Ahuntsic.
argued that the Commission was much too restrictive in trying to match the
provincial quotient on the island of Montreal.
She noted that the legislation allows for variances of up to 25%, but
that the Commission made changes to several ridings on the island even though
they were nowhere near this limit. In
the case of Ahuntsic, the variance would be +9.7% if it retained its current
explained to the Subcommittee that the objection she raised was firmly
supported locally, including the Ahuntsic-Cartierville Borough Council. She made it very clear that the proposed
change would jeopardize the existing community of interest and community of
identity that exists in this area. Many
of the voters who would be removed from the riding are served by the same local
institutions as those who would remain in the riding.
Ms. Bakopanos argued
that the changes being made were pointless alterations that produce no public
interest and were based purely on mathematics.
She indicated how the current boundaries are dictated by geography, the
major road transportation axes and municipal division.
indicated that if any change was absolutely required, it would have been much
more logical to remove the section of the riding located in the Saint‑Michel
neighbourhood, which does not, at present, have any community of interest with
the rest of the riding.
(c) Recommendations for Montreal
As stated previously,
we cannot ignore a letter that had been signed by all 14 Members of Parliament
from the island of Montreal requesting that the status quo be maintained. We recognize that a review of electoral
boundaries generally suggests that changes will be made and that people must be
ready to make compromises. We have
heard objections from across the country and know first hand the impossible
task of trying to please everyone.
Having stated the obvious, one thing we cannot accept are changes to
ridings that are made for the sake of change.
All of the current
ridings on the island of Montreal are within an acceptable variance from the
provincial quotient. Thus, changes were
not legislatively required. For this region
in particular, we are of the opinion that the Commission should take full
advantage of the allowable variance to the provincial quotient as set out in
In addition, the
Commission must remain cognizant of the fact that in urban ridings, the
territory is much smaller and there is generally more cohesion because the
communities are closer together. Thus,
having ridings that are more populous does not generally cause a problem.
Significantly, we were
told that the Commission, in response to the public consultations held in
December 2002, agreed to reinstate the current boundaries and names (in some
cases with very minor changes) of several of these ridings. It seems unusual that the Commission would
agree to the status quo in some cases and not in others when the same factors
are at play.
We would therefore
strongly recommend that the current ridings on the island of Montreal remain
unchanged. Even if this is not done,
the objections raised in relation to Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Ahuntsic must be
addressed. The Commission should focus
more closely on the question of community of interest, and, at the very least,
the ridings of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Ahuntsic should be modified to address
the Members’ concerns.
Two of the Members of Parliament for Laval
appeared before the Subcommittee to object to the proposed names for the
ridings in this area. In the context of
these discussions and other less formal discussions, we are of the opinion that
significant changes are required in relation to the Laval ridings. The objections are set out below and they
are followed by our recommendations for the area.
Ms. Raymonde Folco, Member of Parliament for
Laval West, filed an objection to the proposed electoral district name of
“Île-Jésus”. Ms. Folco suggests
that the riding be named “Laval—Les Îles” in order to reflect the two rivers
and 48 islands in and along the edges of this riding.
According to Ms.
Folco, “île Jesus” is the geographical designation for the entire island and
could apply to any riding in Laval. It
therefore provides no specific identity or location for the residents of the
riding. When questioned by the
Subcommittee on the Commission’s original proposed name of “Chomedy”, Ms. Folco
stated that Chomedy was only one part of the riding and that the name was
therefore not an accurate or complete description. It would not indicate to other residents of the riding that they
were part of that riding.
According to Ms.
Folco, the riding is known locally for the many islands and has become
something of a tourist destination. The name “Laval—Les Îles” would be
recognizable to others locally, as well identifying it as part of Laval to the
rest of Quebec and Canada.
discussions with Ms. Falco and based on our recommendations, the Member of
Parliament now favours the name of “Laval West”. This is a position we strongly support.
Allard, Member of Parliament for Laval East, filed an objection to the proposed
new name of “François-Berthelot” for the present riding of Laval East.
She argued that the
riding should bear the name “Alfred-Pellan”, after a world-renowned painter who
had lived in the riding from 1950 onward.
It is interesting to note that it is Ms. Allard who had requested the
name “François-Berthelot” when she had objected to the name “Duvernay” that had
originally been suggested by the Commission. The Commission had told Ms. Allard
that the use of cardinal points such as “East”, “West”, “Centre” would no
longer be acceptable. It is at that
point, with very little time to prepare, that she suggested the name
“François-Berthelot”. Having had more
time to conduct the necessary research, she now prefers the name
Ms. Allard also
objects to the proposed name of the adjacent riding, which would be named
“Laval”. She argues that this term
represents the whole island of Laval and that it is not appropriate that it be
used to designate only a section of the island. This can only lead to confusion and is historically
inappropriate. The same point was made
with respect to the proposed name of “Île-Jesus” for an adjacent riding. If the name “Laval” could not be used in all
ridings, it should not be used for one riding only. The Commission should adopt more consistency it was argued, for
example by referring to historical painters for all four proposed ridings is
During questioning it
became very clear that Ms. Allard would much have preferred keeping the
current name of “Laval East”. She did
not suggest this, however, because the Commission had told her that certain
terms would no longer be acceptable.
(c) Recommendations for Laval
We see no valid
reason for totally eliminating the use of terms such as “East”, “West”,
“North”, “South” and “Centre”. While
the Guidelines for the Selection of Federal Electoral District Names
identifies some of the difficulties in referring to cardinal points, this
option a far from eliminated. In
certain circumstances, the use of such terms makes it much easier for the
electorate to situate themselves and to know where the riding is located. The current proposals use the names “Laval”
and “Île-Jesus”, which, for the reasons brought forward by Ms. Allard, are
unacceptable when used for only a part of this region. They are misleading and create inequity in
the area. We are of the opinion that
this is precisely the type of area (an island) where cardinal points are ideal
and precise. We would therefore
recommend that the names currently used for the island of Laval remain the
same, namely “Laval East”, “Laval Centre” and “Laval West”.
importantly, we recommend that the Laval region be constituted of only three
electoral ridings. It is clear that the
Commission felt that the growth in this area required adding a new half
riding. We do not agree and note that
the fourth proposed riding involved two distinct areas with little in
common. In creating this riding, the
criteria of community of interest, community of identity and historical pattern
were simply ignored. This is a solution
we cannot accept.
Our solution is
to retain the three current ridings with minor boundary changes in order to
better balance the population. We
propose the following boundaries:
Laval West: commencing at the Rivière des Prairies
northerly along Autoroute des Laurentides to Notre-Dame Boulevard; thence
easterly along said boulevard to Curé-Labelle Boulevard; thence northerly along
said boulevard to the hydroelectric transmission line lying south of Edith
Street; thence easterly along said transmission line to the north-south
hydroelectric transmission line; thence northerly along said north-south
transmision line to where it intersects the Rivière des Milles Îles.
Laval East: commencing at the Rivière des Prairies
northerly along Boulevard des Laurentides to St-Martin Boulevard; thence
westerly along said boulevard to the Canadian Pacific Railway; thence northerly
along said railway to the east-west hydroelectric transmission line lying north
of Papillon Street; thence easterly along said east-west transmission line to
René-Laenneck Boulevard; thence northerly along the production of said
boulevard (as projected in the development plans of the City of Laval) to
Riopelle Street; thence along said street to Boulevard des Laurentides; thence
northerly along said boulevard to Papineau Avenue; thence northwesterly along
said avenue to Athanase-David Bridge.
These boundaries would produce the
following population counts and variances from the provincial quotient:
West: 112,000 and +16.7%
Centre: 116,216 and +20.4%
East: 114,196 and +18.3%
It is important to
note that this recommendation allows us to add a new riding elsewhere in
Quebec, an option that became extremely important to address the concern of
under-representation in rural Quebec.
Mr. Marcel Gagnon,
Member of Parliament for Champlain, appeared before the Subcommittee to object
to the proposed riding of Saint-Maurice—Champlain.
Mr. Gagnon indicated
that the current riding of Champlain, which he said was the seventh largest in
the country, was too big for a Member of Parliament to cover effectively and
efficiently. While the size of the
riding would not substantially change, he indicated that the proposed changes
would result in an increase of approximately 11,000 people. In such a big riding, he felt that too much
focus was put on the provincial quotient.
He argued that all voters had a right to efficient and effective
Mr. Gagnon also
indicated that the RCM of Les Chenaux has no community of interest with the
city of Shawinigan. Rather, it is
associated socially and economically with Trois-Rivières.
Mr. Gagnon raised
concerns that the proposed changes would mean that the Mauricie region would
lose a Member of Parliament, which would result in the loss of one-third of its
representation. This was unacceptable,
according to Mr. Gagnon. He
therefore recommended the status quo for the current riding of Champlain.
We are of the opinion
that Mr. Gagnon has presented compelling arguments that cannot be ignored. As a result of our changes in the Laval
region, there is an electoral district that is effectively “up for grabs” in
Quebec. As stated earlier, certain
members of the Subcommittee were of the opinion that the Mauricie region could
benefit to a greater extent from this addition. Others, meanwhile, were of the opinion that the extra riding
should be allocate to the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region.
It is clear that if
the riding is added to the Mauricie area, that will have consequences
throughout the region. We would
recommend maintaining the status quo (1997) with only minor modifications if
they are absolutely necessary.
Quebec City Area and Côte Nord
The Subcommittee received several objections
regarding this region of the province.
They are set out below and are followed by our recommendations for the
Mr. Ghislain Fournier, Member of Parliament
for Manicouagan, appeared before the Subcommittee to object to the proposed
boundaries of the riding of Manicouagan and argue that the Commission failed to
rely on the proper criteria in making its determination in relation to this
He notes that the
population of the current riding was assessed at 52,561 in the 2001 census,
clearly below the provincial quotient. He adds, however, that this population
is distributed over 268,000 km2.
This is 22 times the average electoral district. He made reference to the lack of both
transportation and communication infrastructure in the riding.
He argued that the
Commission focused too much on the question of population, making it impossible
for the Member of Parliament for the proposed riding to represent his or her
constituents effectively and efficiently.
The gain of 32,280 people and the immensity of the riding would make a
Member’s work extremely difficult, if not impossible. He points to the legislation, which requires that the Commission
consider a manageable geographic size for ridings in sparsely populated or
rural regions. In addition, he notes
that the Commission is mandated to establish extraordinary electoral ridings in
the appropriate circumstances.
Mr. Fournier was
of the opinion that this riding should be declared an extraordinary electoral
district and that the status quo should prevail. This was mostly based on the immensity of the proposed riding and
the difficulties of providing proper representation to this area, including
challenges in relation to travel and communication. He recommended a transfer of the Baie-Comeau area (which would
have meant a gain of 32,280) to the Charlevoix riding. He added that this change was also
appropriate because of the great disparity and diversity of needs between
residents of the Lower North Shore and residents of the Baie-Comeau area.
objection was supported by the objection filed by Mr. Gérard Asselin, the
Member of Parliament for the adjacent riding of Charlevoix. He noted how the riding of Manicouagan is
currently the second largest in the province and that the Commission’s
proposal, in addition to adding over 32,000 people, would add over
Mr. Asselin indicated
how both ridings are located in remote locations, which made effective
representation that much more difficult.
He was able to provide evidence of the heavy workload that the
Baie-Comeau area represents and how the area requires the regular presence of
the Member. The need for two offices in
this already-large riding was also mentioned.
Because of the travel required and other duties related to such a large
riding, the Member would not be able to offer proper service or defend regional
issues adequately. The costs of
representing such a riding were also raised as a concern.
Mr. Asselin explained
that Members’ offices in remote ridings become all-purpose service points for
the electorate. He argued that a
transfer of the Baie-Comeau area to the Manicouagan riding would make it
unmanageable. Mr. Asselin also noted
how the proposed changes are opposed by many individuals and organizations in
both affected ridings. Based on all of
the factors raised, he believes that the riding of Manicouagan should be
granted exceptional status, as authorized by the legislation, and that the
current boundaries of the ridings of Manicouagan and Charlevoix should remain
Mr. Claude Duplain,
Member of Parliament for Portneuf, filed an objection to its proposed
boundaries. Mr. Duplain wishes the riding to be restored to its original
According to Mr.
Duplain, the proposed boundaries are poorly drawn and do not encompass a
community of interest. The road
networks for the proposed riding all run through the urban centre of Quebec
City. To travel from one section of the
riding to another is not direct, but necessitates driving into the city and out
again, often during peak traffic hours.
For example, to drive from La Branche to Portneuf would require crossing
Quebec City. To drive from Shannon to
Tewksbury would require driving two sides of a triangle — driving into to town
and then back out again — rather than a direct route. These communities, while sharing many commonalities, are
effectively separated from each other by the natural barrier of Quebec City.
Mr. Duplain also
objected to the removal of some 4,700 people from his riding. He felt strongly that the poorly drawn
boundaries and the loss of some constituents stems from the decision to redraw
Manicouagan, several ridings away from him, rather than to grant it exceptional
status and allow it to fall below the provincial quotient.
(d) Recommendations for the Quebec City Area and Côte Nord
The Committee agrees
with the objections that were raised in relation to this region. There is no doubt that the riding of
Manicouagan is an extraordinary riding and that the Commission should have
utilized the discretion granted in the legislation to allow a variance from the
provincial quotient of more than -25%, in this case -45%. We are quite aware that such a solution cannot
be used excessively. However, if the riding
of Manicouagan is not considered to be a proper case for the use of the
discretion granted in the legislation, we do not see when this power would ever
be used and why it would have been set out in the legislation.
We also note that the
changes made to the other ridings in this area are as a result of the
Commission’s decision not to grant extraordinary status to Manicouagan. This means that the option of recommending
the status quo in this area is available to us and is entirely
appropriate. This Committee cannot
accept change for the sake of change.
The other current ridings involved are:
Louis-Hébert, Quebec, Quebec East, and Portneuf.
Our recommendation is
supported by every witness who appeared
before the Subcommittee, as well as other Members of Parliament who indicated
their support by way of conversations with Subcommittee members. In fact, an opened letter published in Le
Soleil indicated that all Members of Parliament in this region favoured the
status quo. In our opinion, our
recommendation would lead to more effective and efficient representation,
particularly in the riding of Manicouagan.
Four Members of Parliament came before
the Subcommittee to object to the loss of a riding in this region. They were:
Mr. Sébastien Gagnon, Member of Parliament for Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay;
Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold, Member of Parliament for Jonquière; Mr. André Harvey, Member of
Parliament for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord; and
Mr. Michel Gauthier, Member of Parliament for Roberval.
was very well presented by Mr. Gagnon.
He argued that in
choosing to favour the numerical rule in its report, the Commission furthered the
imbalance between the major centres and outlying regions, thus precipitating
the decline of regions in difficulty.
It is argued that the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean
region should enjoy the “extraordinary” status referred to in the legislation,
a position that is firmly supported by everyone in the region. Also noted was the fact that the region
would lose one-quarter of its representation, a loss that is disproportionate
to the region’s real demographic decline over the past 10 years. It was also indicated that the region has
had four representatives since 1947.
Mr. Gagnon argues that it was perhaps time to
consider generally introducing a weighting system for rural regions, a kind of
demographic equalization factor to promote democracy and development. It was added that despite the good
intentions stated in electoral fairness legislation, the value of one vote
varies considerably from one province to another.
Some of the economic difficulties in the
region were noted and it was stated that accepting the Commission’s proposals
means sanctioning and accentuating the vicious circle in which the region
currently finds itself. In addition, it
was argued that the enormous area of the ridings of Saguenay and Lac-Saint-Jean
cannot be disregarded. Concerns were
raised regarding effective and efficient representation is such large areas
where travel can be extremely difficult.
By focusing solely on the numerical rule, the Commission’s proposals
undermine this fundamental principle of accessibility, which is a pillar of
It was stated that it is unfortunate
that the historical characteristics of the region have been disregarded in
favour of the numerical rule. The
readjustment proposal, as presented by the Commission, suggests a lack of
knowledge of and respect for the rural populations and their history.
We are extremely sympathetic to the
objections of these four Members and find their arguments compelling. It is clear that the loss of a riding in a
region is extremely difficult to swallow, a problem that is exacerbated in the
case of regions facing economic and other related difficulties. As indicated previously, members of the
Subcommittee debated at length whether a riding should be added to this area. The Subcommittee was unable to reach a
consensus on where the additional riding available for rural Quebec should be
On a final note, Mr. Gauthier objected
to the removal of the cities of Chibougamau and Chapais from the riding of
Roberval. He stated that this would be
difficult to justify from either a geographic or regional standpoint. This issue is discussed further in the
following section dealing with Baie-James—Nunavik.
Mr. Guy St-Julien,
Member of Parliament for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik appeared
before the Subcommittee to make several proposals regarding the riding of
One proposal included
a request that the city of Amos and surrounding areas be included in this
proposed riding. We accept this
suggestion and note that it is not only supported by Mr. St-Julien, but
more importantly, also by the people of Amos themselves. Therefore, we find it very difficult to
justify a rejection of this suggestion.
We are fully aware that this would mean splitting an RMC, which should
be avoided when possible. The wishes of
a community are more important, however.
suggested the creation of an extraordinary riding which would include the
Kativik Regional Government. We are
sympathetic to this request but acknowledge that it cannot be acceded to at
this time. The addition of a riding to
the province of Quebec at this point would basically require a re-drawing of
all ridings in the province, a suggestion that is not practical.
It should also be
noted that Mr. St-Julien was pleased with the addition of the
Chibougamau-Chapais region to the proposed riding. He is opposed to any transfer of this region back to its current
riding. This is a very contentious
issue, made obvious by the conflicting objections made by Mr. St-Julien and Mr.
Gauthier. Even at the local level,
there is no unanimity as to where this area should be located for the purposes
of electoral boundaries. We were made
aware of the conflicting wishes of the mayor of Chibougamau and its
councillors. We would note, however,
that this area is currently in the riding of Roberval. Furthermore, with the addition of the
residents of Amos and surrounding areas to the Baie-James riding, that riding
could become very difficult to represent effectively based on its immense size
and the increased population.
Mr. David Price,
Member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead, appeared before the Subcommittee to
object to the Commission’s decision to add the former city of Bromptonville to
the riding of Compton-Stanstead, instead of adding the former town of
Lennoxville, which the Commission has proposed be included in the riding of
In his objection, Mr.
Price indicated that Lennoxville (population 4,952) is more semi-rural and has
more affinity to the semi-rural riding of Compton-Stanstead. The people from
the Compton-Stanstead riding have their services in Lennoxville. Meanwhile, Bromptonville (population 6,013)
is a largely industrial town with no direct relationship to
Compton-Stanstead. It has strong ties
to the riding of Sherbrooke, which it borders.
Mr. Price notes that he has the support of all the mayors and borough
chairs concerned. In addition, all
Members of Parliament for the surrounding ridings are in favour, including Mr.
Serge Cardin, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke.
We agree with Mr.
Price that the current proposal is illogical in this respect and recommend that
the Commission make the appropriate readjustment. We note that this would have no real impact on the populations of
the affected ridings.
Outaouais and Laurentians
Mr. Mark Assad, Member
of Parliament for Gatineau, appeared before the Subcommittee to object to the
inclusion of the former cities of Buckingham and Masson-Angers in the new
riding of Pontiac. Mr. Assad argued
that the following two principles were not properly considered by the
Commission: the community of interest
or community of identity in, or the historical pattern of, an electoral
district; and a manageable geographic size for ridings in sparsely populated or
rural regions of the province.
He stated that there
is no community of interest or community of identity or even a similar
historical pattern between Buckingham and Masson-Angers, and the Pontiac
region. He claimed that there was
neither a historical link nor a linguistic affinity. These two regions are important constituents of the new City of
Gatineau and have always been considered an integral part of the National
Capital Region. Mr. Assad also argued
that the new riding of Pontiac is too large and should not include the two
Mr. Assad presented
additional information to the Subcommittee following his presentation. He proposed that part of the former city of
Aylmer be transferred to the Pontiac riding rather than Buckingham and
Masson-Angers. We are unable to support
this objection. First, the transfer of
Buckingham and Masson-Angers to Gatineau would result in Gatineau having a
variance of +29% and the Pontiac riding –29%.
While Mr. Assad suggests transferring parts of Aylmer to Pontiac,
no indication is given as to which areas should be transferred. This suggestion
would also seem to require transferring parts of Gatineau to Hull-Aylmer to
make up for its loss. Finally, there is
no indication that such a change would be supported by other Members of
Parliament in the area.
this objection also makes comments and recommendation regarding the island of
Laval and the electoral district of Saint-Maurice—Champlain.]
Mr. Mario Laframboise,
Member of Parliament for Argenteuil-Papineau-Mirabel, filed two objections to
the proposed electoral district of Trois-Seigneuries. One objection was to the proposed name “Trois-Seigneuries” the
electoral district. This objection is
dealt with in Part III of this Report, which deals with all objections
requesting name changes. The other objection was to the proposed boundaries for
objected to the transfer of the municipality of Saint-Colomban to the adjacent
riding of Rivière-du-Nord. He notes
that Saint-Colomban has been part of the Argenteuil-Papineau-Mirabel riding
since 1933. He argued that this
municipality has a close affinity to the city of Mirabel and there has been
discussion of a merger in the past. An
example of the close ties is that Saint-Colomban is patrolled by the Mirabel
Mr. Laframboise adds
that the only reason such a decision could have been made is based on the
population of the proposed ridings. He
indicated that the population in the Argenteuil-Papineau region was not
increasing and that while Mirabel had seen some increase, this would be
tempered by the closure of the Mirabel Airport in the near future. He also added that the proposed riding of
Rivière-du-Nord is part of a very dynamic demographic growth zone that should
allow it to make up fairly rapidly any loss of population.
Finally, he argued
that this was not part of the Commission’s earlier proposals and Mr.
Laframboise indicates that such a proposal would have been strongly opposed by
residents of Saint-Colomban.
Significantly, his proposal is supported by Ms. Monique Guay,
Member of Parliament for Laurentides (Rivière-du-Nord).
We strongly support
Mr. Laframboise’s objection and recommend that Saint-Colomban be transferred
back to the riding of Trois-Seigneuries, to which it has a close and natural
The Committee realizes
its recommendation goes against the general principle of not splitting RCMs
across electoral districts. In general,
the Committee respects the Commission’s decision to align riding boundaries
with the RCMs; but in this specific case, given the close attachment of
Saint-Colomban to Mirabel and the riding Argenteuil-Papineau-Mirabel, and given
the long history of this attachment, we believe that community of interest
concerns override the recent provincial redistribution of municipal boundaries.
According to numbers
available from Elections Canada, the transfer of Saint-Colomban from
Rivière-du-Nord to Trois-Seigneuries would involve approximately 15,000
people. This would place
Trois-Siegneuries at 9.8% above the provincial quotient, which is well within
the statutory limits. The Committee
further recommends the transfer of Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines into the riding of
Rivière-du-Nord, which would bring the variance of the riding to just 1% below
the provincial quotient.
In conjunction with
the above recommendations, we propose a series of minor boundary readjustments
to a few ridings that would both accommodate the objection of
Mr. Laframboise, and allow for the removal of the proposed, newly-created
riding of Marc‑Aurèle‑Fortin — a riding that combines two unrelated communities on either
side of the Rivière des Mille Îles. The
extra riding thus created, we propose to transfer to rural Quebec, as discussed
in our introductory comments and elsewhere in this Report.
readjustments we recommend are to redistribute the boundaries through
Terrebonne-Blainville to the ridings to the north and east in order accomodate
for the population currently contained in the north shore section of the riding
of Marc‑Aurèle‑Fortin, which would in turn allow the island of
Laval to revert to its natural three ridings.
The Committee notes that the electoral district of Montcalm is a new,
significantly altered electoral district, which could certainly be adjusted to
allow for some of the necessary boundary changes without disturbing local
communities of interest.
Given the characters of these ridings,
particularly the dense, urban ridings of Montreal, as well as the testimony the
Subcommittee heard describing these particular ridings — in particular that testimony
concerning Trois-Seigneuries and Laval — we believe these readjustments are justifiable
and would lead to more effective representation throughout Quebec.
We strongly recommend that the Commission
adopt the suggestions presented here and recommend that the boundaries be
readjusted as described above.
Mr. Serge Marcil,
Member of Parliament for Beauharnois-Salaberry, filed an objection to the
proposed boundaries for the riding of Beauharnois-Salaberry. Mr. Marcil’s
objection is based on a community of interest and requests that the urban RCMs
in the eastern part of his electoral district be constituted with their natural
communities of interest in the adjacent ridings.
According to Mr.
Marcil, Saint-Rémi and Saint-Michel share natural social and economic interests
with Châteauguay, the largest urban area in the region. Furthermore, Saint-Édouard and
Saint-Jacques-le-Mineur are tied closely with Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. He proposed that Saint-Édouard and
Saint-Jacques-le-Mineur be placed in the electoral district of Saint-Jean and
that Saint-Rémi and Saint-Michel be placed in the electoral district of
In testimony before
the Subcommittee, Mr. Marcil stated that he had discussed his objection with
the Members of Parliament for the electoral districts of Châteauguay and
Saint-Jean, and that they support his proposal.
Committee notes that the design of Beauharnois-Salaberry is awkward, with the
major road networks requiring considerable indirect travel to get from one part
of the riding to another. It also notes
that Beauharnois-Salaberry is a large, largely rural riding, sharing little
community of interest with the dense, urban eastern corner of the riding as
to numbers available from Election Canada, Mr. Marcil’s proposed changes place
Beauharnois-Salaberry at 92,772, with a variance of -3.9% from the
provincial quotient; Châteauguay at 110,977, with a
variance of +15%; and Saint-Jean at 97,864,
with a variance of +1.4%.
Committee believes that given the urban and rural differences split across
these three electoral districts, as portrayed in Mr. Marcil’s proposal and his
testimony to the Subcommittee, these variances are acceptable. It supports Mr. Marcil’s objection and
recommends the boundaries be readjusted as he describes.
Lower St. Lawrence, Gaspésie and
objections for the electoral districts from the Gaspé Peninsula to
Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière are contained below. The Committee’s recommendations are
contained within the body of each objection.
Georges Farrah, Member of Parliament for Bonaventure—Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine—Pabok,
filed an objection to the proposed riding of Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
to Mr. Farrah’s objection, the proposed riding does not reflect the north-south
division between communities of interest in the Gaspé region, but rather
divides the peninsula between east and west.
The RCMs in the northern portion of the Gaspésie region —
Haute-Gaspésie, Matane, Matapédia and La Mitis — have shared affinities with,
and orient towards the urban centres of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts and Matane. The
RCMs in the southern Gaspésie — Côte-de-Gaspé, Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure and
Avignon — share a community of interest oriented towards the current riding of
constituents of both ridings are upset with this decision. They feel it will disrupt their
representation: the understanding of their issues, and the services and
assistance they receive through their Members of Parliament.
Mr. Farrah proposes transferring the RCM of Haute-Gaspésie to the riding of
Matapédia-Matane. The RCM of Avignon
should be placed in Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine. This approach would affect only the two ridings involved: there would be no domino effect down the
peninsula and into the Lower St. Lawrence or the South Shore. In support of his proposal, Mr. Farrah
presented the Subcommittee with supporting documentation from the RCMs of
Haute-Gaspésie and Avignon. Mr. Farrah also put forward his objection in
consultation with the Member of Parliament for the neighbouring riding of
Matapédia-Matane, Mr. Jean-Yves Roy, who is on record with the Subcommittee as
supporting this objection.
to data available from Elections Canada, the effect of the changes
Mr. Farrah proposes would be to take Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine to 13%
below the provincial quotient and Matapédia-Matane to 23% below. The Committee is aware the variance for
Matapédia-Matane is very great, but notes that it is still within the statutory
limit. It also finds Mr. Farrah’s
suggestions to be well thought out, clearly presented and well supported.
Committee strongly supports Mr. Farrah’s suggestions and recommends the
boundaries for these two ridings be adjusted according to his suggestion.
(b) Rimouski-Témiscouata and Rivière-du-Loup—Montmagny
Paul Crête, Member of Parliament for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les
Basques, filed an objection to the proposed riding of
Rimouski-Témiscouata. Mr. Crête’s
objection is to the decision by the Commission to divide the riding of
Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques in two, placing the RCMs of
Les Basques and Témiscouata in the riding of Rimouski-Témiscouata and
Rivière-du-Loup and Kamouraska in the riding of Rivière-du-Loup—Montmagny.
Crête was pleased the Commission listened at the public hearings to the
original proposal for the Lower St. Lawrence and Gaspésie and has restored four
ridings to the region. However, their
proposed boundaries sever natural economic, social and cultural ties in the region. For example, in the case of his current
riding, the proposed riding of Montmagny—Rivière-du-Loup would create a riding
overlapping two separate administrative regions: Bas-St-Laurent and Chaudière-Appalaches. The Member of Parliament would have to work
with two different regional offices of Canada Economic Development and Human
Resources Canada, both of which are important services in the region.
Crête, in his objection, proposed that the boundaries in the region be
readjusted as follows, conditional on an exception being made for the riding
containing Gaspésie and Îles-de-la-Madeleine:
current boundaries of Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques remain
as they are;
riding Côté-de-Gaspé—Haute-Gaspésie—Matane—Matapédia be formed from the RCMs of
the same name;
· There be a riding
Rimouski-Neigette-La Mitis; and
riding of Avignon—Îles-de-la-Madeleine—Rocher-Percé—Bonaventure be formed from
the RCMs of those names.
to Mr. Crête’s proposal, this would create four ridings in the region that
reflect how people live, work and relate to each other. Three ridings would be within the allowable
variance from the provincial quotient.
The fourth — his proposed electoral district of
Avignon—Îles-de-la-Madeleine—Rocher-Percé—Bonaventure — would qualify to be
treated as an exception to the statutory limit, due to the difficulties
involved in representing Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
Mr. Crête noted in his presentation to the Subcommittee that the
Province of Quebec has given Îles-de-la-Madeleine such an exemption.
Committee finds Mr. Crête's suggestion to be well thought-out with regard to
the three ridings along the lower St. Lawrence. It has the support of the neighbouring Member of Parliament to
the west, Mr. Normand. It is, however,
contrary to the suggestion of Mr. Farrah (see above); Mr. Farrah’s objection
being also done in consultation with, and with the support of, Mr. Roy. The Committee also notes that the Member of
Parliament for the current riding of Rimouski-Neigette-et-la Mitis has not
filed an objection to the proposed boundary changes, but has filed an objection
to change the name of the proposed riding of Rimouski-Témiscouata to more
accurately reflect its new boundaries.
Gilbert Normand, Member of Parliament for
Bellechasse-Etchemin-Montmagny-L’Islet, filed an objection to the proposed new
electoral district of Rivière-du-Loup—Montmagny. Mr. Normand’s objection is to the division of the current riding
of Bellechasse-Etchemin-Montmagny-L’Islet into the electoral districts of
Rivière-du-Loup—Montmagny and Lévis-Bellechasse.
to Mr. Normand, the new ridings do not respect the social and economic
communities of interest in the region.
The RCMs of Montmagny and L’Islet are part of the Chaudières-Appalaches
region and the RCMs of Rivière-du-Loup and Kamouraska are part of the Lower St.
Lawrence resource region. The ridings
overlap the administrative divisions in the province so that citizens and their
Members of Parliament would have to deal with different regional offices for
117. As Mr.
Normand noted when he appeared before the Subcommittee, the riding would be
split in half, with half being pulled towards Rimouski and half being pulled
towards Quebec City. In development
issues, he argued, one cannot ignore provincial administrative differences;
there would be different tax structures and incentives within the proposed
electoral district, for example.
Normand’s objection also refers to the increase in population for the riding of
Rivière-du-Loup—Montmagny. There would
be an extra 10,000 people, which in combination with the difficulties created
by the new boundaries, would affect representation for the electoral district.
Normand is upset that the community will have no opportunity to discuss the
proposal to split the riding in two; the original proposal, he noted, was very
different. He noted that at the
Commission’s hearings, he had suggested that the four municipalities in
Beauce-Sud be replaced by St-Henri-de-Lévis, which is currently in the RCM of
120. In his
written objection, Mr. Normand suggested that the four ridings in the Lower St.
Lawrence and Gaspésie be left unchanged.
However, in the Subcommittee’s hearings, Mr. Normand appeared alongside
Mr. Crête. Although each Members made
separate and independent presentations, Mr. Normand supported and made
suggestions about Mr. Crête’s proposed redistribution for the region.
Committee understands and sympathises with Mr. Normand and Mr. Crête. However,
the return of their two ridings to their original boundaries would have a
ripple effect throughout the region. It
notes that the adjacent ridings on either side of Rimouski-Témiscouata and
Rivière-du-Loup—Montmagny have not filed objections to their boundaries. We reiterate that the suggestions made by
Mr. Crête and Mr. Normand are not feasible in conjunction with the suggestions
made by Mr. Farrah, and which the Committee has recommended the Commission
the Committee notes, just as for the objection filed by Mr. Odina
Desrochers (see below), their proposals hold potential ripple effects for
Lévis-Bellechasse and Beauce, and perhaps beyond. The Subcommittee investigated whether there was an opportunity,
through the combined objections of Mr. Desrochers and the two objections here,
to solve the issues raised on both sides of the city of Lévis, but could find
no means to solve the distribution problems raised by any of the three
Committee, with regret, cannot support the objections filed by Mr. Crête and
Mr. Normand regarding the electoral districts of Rimouski-Témiscouata and
(c) Mégantic-L’Érable and
Odina Desrochers, Member of Parliament for Lotbinière-L’Érable, filed an
objection to the splitting of the riding of Lotbinière-L’Érable between the
proposed ridings of Mégantic-L’Érable and Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.
Mr. Desrochers’s objection is based on a community of interest.
to Mr. Desrochers, the division of the current riding of Lotbinière-L’Érable
will eliminate the last exclusively rural, federal electoral district in
Quebec. The division of this riding
seems to be the unfortunate and unintended consequence of the establishment of
the RCMs of Lotbinière and L'Érable, which creates a potential boundary line
through the middle of the riding. Under
this proposal, however, these two ridings, which form a community of interest,
have each been attached to urban ridings.
RCM Lotbinière would account for only 25% of the proposed constituency
of Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière; L`Érable would comprise only 28% of
Desrochers has received many complaints through his constituency office with
regard to this proposal from citizens and from local officials. Neither
Mr. Desrochers nor the community made representation at the public
hearings of the Commission because the Commission’s original proposal did not
propose splitting the riding; he and the community were satisfied with the
Desrochers realizes that the current variance of +28% for Lotbinière-L’Érable
is not supportable under the legislation.
He proposes joining the RCMs of Lotbinière and L’Érable to St-Nicolas,
St-Étienne-de-Lauzon et St-Rédempteur.
The Chaudière River would become the natural boundary for the
region. These municipalities, in
conjunction with the former municipality of Bernières have worked together for
several years to create economic development.
Hundreds of families from Lotbinière have settled in these three
make up the numbers, Mr. Desrochers proposes that the municipalities of the
rural sector of Bécancour be annexed to the new electoral district of
Richelieu. The six municipalities of
RCM Arthabaska could be placed together in the new electoral district of
Richmond-Arthabaska. St-Lambert-de-Lauzon would remain Mr. Desrochers’s
proposed constituency of Lotbinière-L’Érable.
to data available from Elections Canada, the effect of Mr. Desrochers proposal
on the affected electoral districts is as follows:
· Beauce: + 5.8%
· Levis-Bellechasse: +38%
· Megantic-Érable: –34.5%
· Richmond-Arthabaska: + 1%
· Richmond: – 4%
changes to other ridings would have to be made to accommodate
Mr. Desrochers’s primary goal of uniting the two rural ridings. It seems unlikely that such large variances
can readily be accommodated without a severe cascade of boundary readjustments
throughout the region. The Committee
investigated whether a minimal number of readjustments would be able to solve
the issue, but was unable to come up with a solution. We sympathize with Mr. Desrochers but see no means to
achieve his objection.
III. Name Changes
Ghislain Lebel, Member of Parliament for Chambly, objected to the proposed name
of the riding of Chambly. He would
prefer the name “Chambly-Borduas”.
“Borduas” is the name of the provincial riding, which is entirely
encompassed within the proposed riding of Chambly. This territory would not be represented in the name of the riding
even though it contains a majority of the residents in the new riding. Mr. Lebel also stated that the proposed
name of “Chambly” could be misleading because the provincial riding of the same
name constitutes only part of the new riding.
support this objection and agree with Mr. Lebel’s suggestion. This name would better represent the
territories included in the riding and provide a better sense of identity for
the electorate. Too much consideration
was given to attempting to limit the name of the riding to one word.
Robert Bertrand, Member of Parliament for Pontiac-Gatineau-Labelle,
appeared before the Subcommittee with a straightforward objection. He requested that the proposed name of the
riding of Labelle be changed to “Laurentides” or “Laurentides-Labelle”. He indicated that this would better reflect
the territory being encompassed by the riding and would be more representative
of the electorate. The RCM of
Antoine-Labelle only covers the northern third of the proposed riding.
support this objection. We prefer the
name “Laurentides-Labelle” to avoid confusion with the current riding of
Mario Laframboise filed two objections.
The objection considered here relates to the proposed name of
“Trois-Seigneuries”. His main argument
was that “Trois Seigneuries” makes reference to only one third of the proposed
riding. He explained that in Quebec,
land was historically divided at a certain period into “seigneuries” and at
another period into “cantons”. Since
two-thirds of the riding has been divided in “cantons”, the term “seigneuries”
has no application in these areas.
Thus, Mr. Laframboise requested that the current name of
“Argenteuil-Papineau-Mirabel”, which identifies the three key regions of the
riding, be retained. In the written
objection filed with the Committee, it is indicated that this suggestion is
supported by local and regional representatives.
support this objection. It is clear
that the Commission has chosen to avoid the use of hyphenated names referring
to more than two regions. This riding,
however, encompasses three entire RCMs and it would be proper to identify them
equally. We do not see the logic of
trying to find a name with which very few people, if any, would identify
themselves in order to satisfy an arbitrary preference. Of more significance is the fact that
“Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière” has 33 characters and
“Argenteuil-Papineau-Mirabel” would only have 27. In addition, the Guidelines of Federal Electoral District
Names, produced by the Secretariat of the Geographical Names Board of
Canada, states that “names comprising three unique geographical names (each of
one word only) united by dashes are acceptable, provided that most of the area
represented by each of the three names falls with the electoral district.”
137. Mr. Guy
St-Julien appeared before the Subcommittee to make several proposals regarding
the riding of Baie-James—Nunavik. One
dealt with the name of the riding.
Mr. St-Julien would prefer that the riding be named
“Nunavik-Eeyou”, as suggested by Grand Chief Ted Moses. We support this proposal as it is important
to recognize the history of the Cree in this area.
Hon. Paul Martin, P.C., Member of Parliament for Lasalle-Émard, filed an
objection to the proposed name of the electoral district of Lasalle.
Martin’s objection requests the restoration of the name “Émard” to the
constituency name. According to Mr.
Martin, Émard comprises a significant portion of the riding, with its own
separate identity. The riding
designation “Lasalle” would not effectively signify the entire riding to its
constituents or to others.
Committee agrees with Mr. Martin and recommends the riding name be changed to
141. Mr. Gilles-A. Perron, Member
of Parliament for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, filed an objection to the proposed
name for the electoral district of Deux-Montagnes.
to Mr. Perron, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles includes several communities as well as
the community of Deux-Montagnes. The
name “Deux-Montagnes” would be received poorly by residents of other
communities such as Boisbriand, Saint-Eustache and Sainte-Thérèse.
would also result in voter confusion. There is a provincial riding by the name
of “Deux-Montagnes”. There is also an
RCM called “Deux-Montagnes” in the adjacent electoral district of
Perron proposes the name of the riding remain “Rivière-des-Mille-Îles”. The Committee agrees with Mr. Perron and
recommends that the riding name remain as it is.
Robert Lanctôt, Member of Parliament for Châteauguay, filed an objection to
proposed name of “Châteauguay” for the electoral district.
to Mr. Lanctôt, the area known as Châteauguay comprises only a part of the
riding. The eastern section of the
riding is St-Constant. It is actually the more populous and faster growing
section of the riding. Yet the absence
of its name from the riding causes voter confusion since many people do not
realize they are part of the riding. He
requests the name be changed to “Châteauguay—St-Constant” to reflect both parts
of the riding.
Lanctôt also informed the Subcommittee during hearings that Bill C-300,
currently before the Senate, would change the riding’s name to
“Châteauguay—St-Constant”. When the new
ridings come into force, changes made according to the Electoral Boundary
Readjustments Act would obviate the name change planned in the bill and
automatically return the name to “Châteauguay”. Therefore, should the name not be changed by the Commission, the
Committee wonders whether another bill will be introduced to bring about the
The Committee agrees with Mr. Lanctôt and recommends
the name be changed to “Châteauguay—Saint-Constant”.
Yvan Loubier, Member of Parliament for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, filed an
objection to the proposed name of the electoral district of Saint-Hyacinthe.
to Mr. Loubier, the removal of “Bagot” from the riding name removes mention of
a significant section of the constituency.
The RCM of Acton makes up the Bagot section of the riding. It is one of two complete RCMs which
comprise the riding, the other being Maskoutins. Acton identifies with Bagot;
Maskoutins with Saint‑Hyacinthe. The Committee notes also that there is a
provincial riding of Saint‑Hyacinthe, comprising only Maskoutins. This
would lead to voter confusion federally since residents of Bagot will not recognize
they are part of the federal riding of Saint-Hyacinthe.
Committee agrees with Mr. Loubier and recommends the name of the riding be
Ms. Suzanne Tremblay, Member of Parliament for Rimouski-Neigette-et-la Mitis, filed an objection to the
proposed name of the riding Rimouski-Témiscouata. Ms. Tremblay feels that
the addition of the RCM of Les Basques should be reflected in the name, as
should the full name of Rimouski-Neigette.
153. The Committee agrees with Ms. Tremblay. It is clear that the Commission has
chosen to avoid the use of hyphenated names referring to more than two
regions. This riding, however,
encompasses three entire RCMs and it would be proper to identify them equally. We recommend the
name be changed as she suggests to “Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques”.
Committee has made recommendations on the ridings names in Laval. Those recommendations are in the overall
discussion on redistribution for Laval, contained in paragraphs 34 through 42.
accordance with the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, the Report
of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Quebec, 2003, the
objections, and the minutes of proceedings and evidence of the Subcommittee
will be returned to the Speaker and the Chief Electoral Officer. We urge the Commission to consider carefully
the objections, and the comments and recommendations contained in this report.
appendix sets out my position with regard to the treatment of Quebec electoral
districts under the federal electoral boundaries readjustment.
have taken an active part in the work of the Subcommittee and agree with most
of its recommendations. I do, however,
want to make two objections to the Forty-third Report of the Standing Committee
on Procedure and House Affairs.
in view of the following considerations:
That a majority of Members on the Subcommittee
supported keeping the cities of Chibougamau and Chapais within the riding of
The present position of the Chibougamau municipal
councillors, which was clearly set out in their letter of June 13, 2003;
That the personal opinion of the mayor of Chibougamau
influenced the decision of the Electoral Boundaries Commission and the
That the mayor's position was his personal opinion and
did not commit the Chibougamau city council, as is clear from the minutes of
the Chibougamau city council meeting of May 26, 2003, which were presented to
The position taken by the Chibougamau chamber of
That the city of Chapais has called for the retention
of the four ridings of Saguenay—Lac St-Jean; and
That the riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik is
already quite large;
submit that the cities of Chibougamau and Chapais should remain in the riding
in view of the following considerations:
That the Réserve faunique des Laurentides and the
entire boreal forest ringing it forms a demographic enclave;
That the Saguenay—Lac St-Jean region shares a unique
That it is possible, under the Act, to give special
status to the riding of Roberval (including Chibougamau and Chapais), and that
a redistribution of the population of the other three ridings (Chicoutimi—Le
Fjord, Jonquière, Saguenay—Lac St-Jean) would be within the 25% variance; and
That the four sitting Members are in agreement on this;
I submit that the Saguenay—Lac
St-Jean region should keep its existing four ridings, which should, however, be
readjusted to take into account the considerations listed above.
Michel Guimond, MP
whip of the Bloc Québécois