Quebec is set to lose a seat in Canada’s next rescheduling of federal riding.
Quebec’s 78 lawmakers will be reduced to 77 – the first time since 1966 that a province has lost a seat when the electoral map has been reconfigured.
Overall, the number of seats in the House of Commons would increase from four to 342 seats to reflect Canada’s growing population.
Alberta will get three seats, Ontario one and British Columbia one seat, while the number of lawmakers in other provinces and territories except Quebec will remain unchanged.
The Bloc Québecois condemned the decision to remove Quebec from one seat and said it would fight to maintain the province’s influence in parliament.
Bloc MP Alain Therien, the party’s spokesman on democratic institutions, said: “It is out of the question to lose a seat in Quebec and reduce the power of francophones.”
The constitution requires rides to be redefined every 10 years after the census, so they reflect population changes. Additional seats are generally allocated for areas where the population has increased.
“The Chief Electoral Officer completes this calculation using population estimates provided by the Chief Statistician of Canada and a formula found in the Constitution,” Elections Canada said in a statement Friday.
Quebec’s population growth rate is lower than the average rate for other provinces. Ontario has the largest number of seats in the House of Commons because it has the largest number of people from all Canadian provinces.
Alberta, which now has 34 seats, will get 37. British Columbia will move from 42 to 43 seats, and Ontario will get an additional 121 to 122 seats.
The size and shape of the riding will also be reviewed from February next year. Ten independent Electoral Boundary Commissions will be set up across Canada to remodel the riding and to consult on their proposals.
In the past, border changes have been vehemently challenged by political parties if they feel that a tweak could lose them a seat. Boundary changes can relocate communities to neighboring ridings and affect those elected to parliament.
Some parties have also complained that the proposed ride is too large, and means lawmakers will have too much area to meet their constituents.
Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories only return one MP each, so there will be no boundary review.
A new electoral map is being prepared for the next general election, and Elections Canada says it does not expect the changes to go into effect until April 2024.
The independent commissions delineating the new electoral boundaries would consist of a judge, appointed by the Chief Justice of the province, and two other members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Commons.
The commission will look into issues such as the average population, the nature of communities in each ride and the overall size of the seat. They will hold public hearings to know the opinion of the local people.
Liberal Party spokesman Matteo Rossi said: “We look forward to hearing more from Election Canada on how all parties, local riding unions and communities across Canada will be able to become involved in this important part of our democratic process.”