Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Read all about it; NL does matter

One of the first things I do when I drop by a city or town that’s relatively new to me is buy the local paper.

The way I see it, a newspaper is the quickest, easiest and most effective way to get a feel for the people and place.

So when I dropped by Halifax earlier this month I picked up a copy of the April 3rd, Saturday edition of the Chronicle Herald, the highest circulation newspaper in the Atlantic provinces and the largest independently owned newspaper in Canada.

The front-page, above-the-fold mainline story caught my attention, and I immediately read to the end of the page-2 turn (which doesn’t happen every day).

Region’s voice weakening,” blared the headline, above the smaller deck, “New legislation would give 30 more Commons seats to larger provinces.”

The angle of the story was that Maritimers should be “very concerned” about a bill introduced on April 1st that would see 30 new seats added to the House of Commons, increasing the total to 338.

The parliamentary overhaul would boost strength in Ontario (18 more seats), B.C. (7 more seats) and Alberta (5 more seats).

An expanded parliament makes sense for provinces like Ontario, B.C. and Alberta.

Their populations have increased, and the number of MPs should reflect that.

Fair enough.

But when new riding boundaries come into force (which likely won’t be until 2012), the province of Ontario will have 124 seats.

Compared to 33 seats for Atlantic Canada.

Compared to 7 seats for NL.

Which brings me back to the Chronicle Herald article.

And the headline: Region’s voice weakening.

Take that to the bank.

The paper quotes Donald Savoie, a University de Moncton professor and one of Canada’s "most respected governance experts", as saying the voice of Atlantic Canada has grown steadily weaker since Confederation.

I can tell you that NL's voice won’t be any stronger when the Commons grows by 30 seats.

We’ll be even more of a whisper. (Outside of Jack Harris.)

The Chronicle Herald points out that Canada isn’t a unitary state, but a federation.

Regions like Atlantic Canada …

Regions like Newfoundland and Labrador …

do matter.

Savoie says that the impetus for the parliamentary change comes from Ontario, where Premier Dalton McGuinty has been pushing not only for more seats in the Commons but also for the abolition of the Senate or its reform on a representation by population basis.

So Ontario not only wants more seats in the Commons, but also to destroy any way to correct the incredible regional imbalance.

McGuinty is McNuts.

“I think what Ontario has to respect and recognize, otherwise it’s going to destroy over time the national unity of this country, what you have to recognize is that Canada is not a unitary state,” Savoie told the Chronicle Herald.

“Regions do matter. If they’re not going to respect that deal, then clearly in my view, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia should not have signed on.”

Likewise for Newfoundland, I say.

So what’s the answer?

Senate reform is obvious.

Let me lift another paragraph from the Chronicle Herald article:

“Every modern federation has an upper house where regional interests are stronger. In the United States, for example, every state has two senators, although Rhode Island is tiny and California is huge. In Canada, because senators are not elected, they don’t act as a strong regional balance.”

And that is a fundamental weakness in the Canadian parliamentary structure.

One that could eventually tear this country apart.

NL has much in common with our Maritime cousins.

I’ve often thought it a pity there isn’t one newspaper to cover all four Atlantic provinces.

We definitely should talk more.


Anonymous said...

Question: Why is that we must put more reform and more chairs in the House of Commons for fair representation and ignore the appointed swashbuckler senate.
Answer: “Those who accept the past will repeat it, History is just the time line of experiments.”
And now for a completely different conclusion.

Relativity Thinking
Canada's likely Revolution.

Try this on for size Canada new democracy two elected rooms. Green Carpet V.s Red Carpet can yaw feel it burn

Parliament Vs. Senate

Population of Canada 33,739,900 (2009)
A ratio of representation equal to one seat for every 50,000 people divided into Population of Canada 33,739,900
700 approx seats in Canada’s new parliament / senate
equally spread out over Canada’s territorial and provincial land mass of 9,093,507 sq km or one seat for every 13472 sq/km
as shown

Newfoundland and Labrador 405720 sqkm 30 seats combined 15 in green room 15 in red room
Broken down
Area of the Island of Newfoundland - 111,390 sq km 8 seats 4 in green room 4 in red room
Area of Labrador - 294,330 sq km Labrador 22 seats 11 in green room 11 in red room

Alberta 661,185 50 seats 25 seats in the green room 25 seats in the red room

British Columbia 947 800 km2 or 70 seats 35 seats in the green room 35 seats in the red room

Manitoba 649,950sqkm or 48 seats 24 seats in the green room 24 seats in the red room

New Brunswick 83 500 km2 or 6 seats 3 seats in the green room 3 seats in the red room

Northwest Territories 1,171,918 86 seats 43 seats in the green room 43 seats in the red room

Nova Scotia 55 491 4 seats 2 seats in the green room 2 seats in the red room

Nunavut 2,000,000 sq km 148 seats 74 seats in the green room 74 seats in the red room

Ontario land mass 1068580 72 seats 36 seats in the 36 seats in the red room

Prince Edward island 5660 km2. 2 seat 1 green 1 red

Quebec 1,667,926 122 seats 61 seats in the green room 61 seats in the red room

Saskatchewan 651,900 sq kms 48 seats 24 in the green room 24 in the red room

Yukon 483 450 km2 34 seats 17 in the green room 17 in the red room

A equal elected parliament & senate approx 360 seats in each room.

Canada then would be diversely represented by geography and people. The artic is the new bastion and that stronghold must be protected and represented the same as Young street in Toronto. THE BIG LAND FOR EVERYONE even the polar bear The natural resource of our forest and minerals and hell I never included the fish in the sea but loyal socialist you must agree equality stand for every living thing. Even the moss on a rock in Iqaluit (on Baffin Island) “The life is in the land first, if not the people always perish”. Paleoeskimo expression

Anonymous said...

That comment is thinking outside the box! Hell with the box, I think who ever wrote it is hovering well over the planet. That’s not a bad thing either.
Nunavut 148 seats, that’s almost a seat for everybody living up there. When you consider how the Whiteman pushed around the natives of this country for the first 300 years, it does sound fair. Labrador getting 22 seats is very fair. I'm sure services and road would improve then with 22 people fighting for the federal dollars. “Giver I say, Giver.