Sunday, May 31, 2015


No, this is not a post about a TV show and/or Lupus, this is about the House of Commons, and in particular, it's expected growth in the coming years.

To do that we first start with population projections. To do this I've used this document from StatsCan.

It's a bit dated, but can still provide useful information.

Keep in mind that for the 6 provinces with smaller populations, the "grandfather clause" means they can not lose seats. This, in short, means their populations are irrelevant. The larger provinces, rounded down to the nearest thousand, are projected as follows:

Quebec is expected to have 8,508,000 people in 2021, and 9,021,000 in 2031
Ontario is expected to have 15,000,000 and 16,743,000 in 2031
Alberta is at 4,242,000 and 4,658,000
BC is at 5,313,000 and 5,946,000
Canada as a whole is at 38,025,000 and 42,093,000

The current formula, worked out by the Tories, is twofold. First we find out the persons-per-seat in Quebec.

For 2021 that will be 78 divided 8,508,000, for a total of 109,077 persons.

Now we take that number and use it to find out the seats the other 3 larger provinces should get.

Ontario would go from 121 to 138
Alberta from 34 to 39
And BC from 42 to 49

Step two is making sure Quebec has it's "fair share" of seats.

Quebec will now have 22.37% of the population. It must thus have more than that share of seats. Our new commons will raise from 338.

There are 63 seats in the "smaller provinces and territories" plus 39, 49, 138, and the current Quebec's 78. This is 367. This would bump Quebec up to 82, and thus, Quebec gets those additional seats.

This brings our new House of Commons, for the 2021-2031 period, up to a new total of 371 members.

We can do the same math for the following decade.

This gives Ontario 152 seats, Alberta 42, and BC 54. Add in Quebec at 82, and our 63 smaller province seats and you get 393. Quebec would need to go up to 84 to keep things level, so we get 395 as our final total for the period of 2031-2041.

This is when I will note that the current chamber for the House of Commons will undergo renovations starting in a few months and lasting 3 (and potentially 4*) years.

Our current 308 seats just about fills up the house. From what I can tell 312 seats would literally fill up the house

There are some proposals to add new seats, but we really will need a serious rethink if we are to go from 300 to 400 seats.

I for one hope that the rebuilding of the commons keeps this in mind. It would be very sad, frustrating, and disappointing, to see work wrap up in 2018, only to have to restart in 2021 to fit the new commons in.

*Based on the stereotype I've seen be true far too often of government contracted construction taking longer than announced. 

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