Monday, August 22, 2011

The NDP and more seats for BC

One of the biggest divisive issues that is going to come up is the proposal of the government to add more seats to BC, Alberta and Ontario.   There are people out there that come up with the most interesting mental gymnastics to justify the current status quo in the House of Commons which penalizes the provinces with growing populations.   More and more I think we need to move to very narrow 100,000 +- people per riding in Canada with exceptions only for the three northern ridings.   But that is getting off topic.

I raise the issue because Libby Davies was on CKNW today trying to do some damage control about the musings of Nycole Turmel in which she Turmel said "The approach of the Harper government is really divisive right now. It’s not constructive, it’s not nation-building"

The federal NDP now has a caucus that is mainly made up of Quebec MPs.   There have been some interesting defenses of Quebec maintaining 25% of the seats (or there abouts) among people in Quebec.  The problem the NDP has that is supposed to for equality and fairness.   It has long been the voice of dissent from the west.    Not supporting more seats for BC will make life very, very difficult for NDP MPs in BC.

In 1988 the NDP elected a record 19 MPs from BC, in 1993 that was reduced to two.   In large part this loss came because of the sense of a sell out of BC by the NDP federally and provincially in the Charlottetown Accord in 1992.   Saying that people in BC did not need more MPs given the quality of the ones we had has got to be one of the more bone headed statements to be made in Canadian politics.

If the federal NDP does not endorse more seats for BC, and ideally a new formula that makes representation much fairer, many of the 12 NDP MPs elected will be defeated in 2015.   The problem goes further than that.   If the BC NDP supports the national position then there is a serious danger of the NDP losing 1/4 of their vote or more.  

Adrian Dix needs to come out and publicly say that BC needs more MPs and needs them as quickly as possible.   Frankly if I were him I would rail against a federal parliament that gives the Atlantic provinces too many seats.   Bashing the feds is never bad politics and in this province and when it comes to representation, being strongly in favour of more seats will gain populist votes.

So if the NDP is in favour of  more seats, this harms their Quebec caucus, if they are against they doom their BC caucus and potentially the future NDP government in BC.    Erring on the side of fair representation is at least defensible and it is hard to make being fair look bad.     Trying to defend a position that is based on a set up everyone knows is wrong and unfair will be a nightmare.

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