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Evidence of meeting #44 for Electoral Reform in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site.) The winning word was ridings.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Ann Decter  Director, Advocacy and Public Policy, YWCA Canada
Francis Graves  President, EKOS Research Associates Inc.
Kelly Carmichael  Executive Director, Fair Vote Canada
Réal Lavergne  President, Fair Vote Canada
Sylviane Lanthier  President, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Christine Lafrance

October 20th, 2016 / 6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to all the presenters for their presentations.

Thank you to Wilf Day, who is sitting on the side. Wilf and I have communicated on numerous occasions over a period of more than a decade, largely dealing with redistribution. I've been on the relevant committee twice, and Wilf has had intelligent thoughts on redistribution on both of those occasions. His thoughts are very much appreciated by me and by members of other parties who have been in communication with him, as well.

I wanted to start, if I could, with Mr. Lavergne, who I think is the right person to turn to, although I stand to be corrected.

I have a series of maps that were distributed. I think you are the person responsible, and I think Wilf is also partly responsible. I'm trying to make sense of them. I can see that you've gone through and that you have four maps for each region of the country represented by an MP on the committee. I see eastern Ontario; that's me. I see Montreal; that's presumably for Sherry Romanado's benefit. It continues right down to New Brunswick for Matt DeCourcey, and so on.

Having said that, it looks to me like you've put forward two systems to show us. One is called MMP-8, and there are two maps for that for each region. The other is called rural-urban PR, and there are two maps for that for each region. Am I right, so far?

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

Yes, you're essentially right. There is a map for each of the members of the ERRE. Wilf is the one who did all of these maps. That is why I was frantically pointing to Wilf over here.

You're supposed to have one map for MMP in each case, and one map for rural-urban in each case. Rural/urban also illustrates what the STV might look like because under rural/urban you might be using STV as your multi-member mechanism.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Okay, so now let me ask some questions about those maps.

I'm looking at the ones for central eastern Ontario. There are 19 members of Parliament in the region right now, if you leave out Durham, which I assume is how you've drawn the region.

The first map says six local MPs; the second one says three regional MPs. That, of course, adds up to only nine. May I assume that the other 10 who aren't mentioned there are on a proportional list, either for some other region that is larger than this, or for the region as a whole, or else for an Ontario-wide list, or something like that?

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

That's right. This is an MMP-8; it's actually MMP-9, in this particular case. So the region is going to be—

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

What does the code MMP-8 or MMP-9 mean?

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

It means that the top-up region would have an average of eight seats.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

In this case, you said it's actually nine for this region.

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

In this case it's nine.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

So you have nine regional seats for the region that includes 19 members of Parliament now, and then it has six local MPs and three sort of subregions that are.... Or am I misunderstanding?

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

No, it's not a region that's 19 now. This is a region that currently has nine. It currently has nine and the MMP—

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Oh, so you're not counting the city of Ottawa. You're taking the city of Ottawa out.

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

The city of Ottawa is not in this one; that's right.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Okay.

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

If you turn the page, when you get to the rural-urban PR page, that one does include Ottawa, and now we're looking at a top-up region of 19 as I remember it.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Okay.

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

So they are kind of different scenarios.

The idea is that with MMP you might want to keep the regions a bit smaller. But the thing about rural-urban is you're actually trying to maximize the proportionality of it—

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Of course.

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

—by having relatively large top-up regions, usually in the rage of 16 up to 20. That reduces the threshold for third parties to about 5%. I'm looking at Elizabeth May here; that's something she might like.

6:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

I don't care, to be honest.

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

You don't care.

But that's the idea, to have a top-up region that's large enough to have a threshold that's fair to third parties.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

Ironically, I actually do care. I think the threshold should be as low as possible—

6:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Scott and I have had this conversation.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

—for reasons of maintaining proportionality. As I like to point out, the purpose is to freeze out extreme parties, but my experience as a former Reform Party member is that whether you are extreme or not, you get characterized that way by the incumbent parties. As for being small, every party starts with one supporter, right?

Turning to rural-urban proportional then, and this is actually true for both of them. You have these happy faces on a grey oval. I just want to make sure I understand them. I assume a happy face means an MP?

6:30 p.m.

President, Fair Vote Canada

Réal Lavergne

That's right.

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, ON

There's one over Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, which is my riding. I note with some alarm, however—not my alarm, but Mike Bossio who is here might feel alarm at this—