moved for leave to introduce Bill C-396, An Act to amend the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act (Northern Ontario).
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing for seconding this bill. It would protect all 10 of the current northern Ontario ridings during the changes in the electoral boundaries in Ontario. The bill recognizes that population is only one of many factors to consider in the size of a riding. There is also geography, linguistic and historical consideration.
Northern Ontario is larger in size than every province except two in Canada. Many ridings in northern Ontario are already bigger than some European countries. We do not need to make it any harder for constituents to get to their MP's office or to weaken their voice and the voice of the north.
It is also important to remember the linguistic principle when we talk about fair representation in the House of Commons. There is a large francophone population in northern Ontario and they must not be ignored when electoral boundaries are set.
The last thing northern Ontario needs is fewer MPs in Ottawa. I call on all northern MPs on both sides of the House to support the bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)