Bill 78: Harmful to Quebec democracy
Montréal, March 11, 2010 – As part of general consultations on Bill 78 on electoral representation and financing rules for political parties, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presented its brief on the law’s provisions regarding electoral representation to the Committee on Institutions today. The Board of Trade believes that the proposed redrawing of the electoral map would result in inequities for the Montréal area and an erosion of Quebec democracy.
“We disagree with the idea of putting in place a minimum number of ridings per administrative region, because that would reinforce the current situation, which already has major democratic imbalances,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade.
“What the bill proposes is a move away from province-wide equity toward regional representativeness,” said Michel Leblanc. “Enshrining in law a minimum number of ridings per administrative region would set a serious precedent: the administrative regions would be transformed into political regions. In our view, that is anything but desirable. With a population of seven million in Quebec, we don’t think it’s necessary to add political territories midway between the provincial and municipal levels.”
“With the proposed mechanisms for the division of the electoral map in Bill 78, it would be increasingly difficult to claim that the vote of one Montrealer has the same weight as that of a resident of a region,” said Michel Leblanc. “It’s important that all Quebeckers feel that they are represented fairly by their democratic institutions, no matter where they choose to live. It’s time we accept the demographic changes that are occurring and adopt an electoral map that faithfully and fairly reflects our new reality.”
The Board of Trade also criticizes the fact that this bill would increase the number of members in the National Assembly. “At a time when Quebec has to make a major effort to rebalance public finances, the government would be sending a contradictory signal in pursuing this,” said Michel Leblanc. “Ontario’s Legislative Assembly has a total of 107 members serving a population of over 12 million. When we say that it’s time to impose productivity objectives on Quebec that are similar to those of our neighbours, doesn’t that apply both to the economic arena and the political sphere? Quebec clearly does not need any more elected members.”
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Québec's leading private economic development organization.
Coordinator, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal
Phone: 514-871-4000, extension 4015