Saturday, June 4, 2011

Senate representation

The concept the Senate was (is?) to represent regional interests, that each region of the country is equally represented. We have not held to this and we have a mish mass of odd levels of representation across the country. If we were to got back to representation by region how would that look?

  • Ontario - 24
  • Quebec - 24
  • BC and Yukon - 24
  • Atlantic - 24
  • Prairies, NWT and Nunavut - 24

In Atlantic Canada, this would mean the loss of six senators and means the numbers need to changed for all of the provinces in that region.   A fair representation would be:

  • Nova Scotia - 9
  • New Brunswick - 8
  • Newfoundland and Labrador - 5  
  • Prince Edward Island - 2

On the prairies

  • Alberta - 8
  • Manitoba - 7
  • Saskatchewan - 7 
  • NWT - 1
  • Nunavut - 1

In BC/Yukon the split would be 23 and 1.

In my proposal BC clearly gains the most, but then BC is as much a seperate region as either Ontario or Quebec.  

  • Economically BC is functionally not related to the rest of Canada.   
  • It also has a historical narrative that is not connected to the rest of the country.
  • It is geographical unique in Canada - it is the only province defined by mountains.
  • It has been primarily settled in very different pattern than the rest of the country
  • The communities and land use patterns of BC are unique in the country.
  • It the furthest province from Ottawa with the largest time zone difference

By any and every measure, BC qualifies to be a region as much as any other region.   The only aspect that any region has that BC does not have is Quebec with a majority French speaking.

Five regions is a reasonable split within the nation.   It keeps the smaller provinces with more Senators than their population warrants.   The big loser in my suggested model is Alberta.
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