Mr. Speaker, the first point my colleague made was that my bill went against the Constitution. I guess it is a matter of semantics. My bill clearly states on the front page that it is an act to amend the Constitution Act of 1867. It certainly seeks to amend the Constitution to put forward a principle that I find more democratic and more effective and efficient for Canadians. That principle is to cap the size of the House of Commons rather than to continue to see it grow and grow.
As I said, under our current rules, had we the population of the United States, we would have some 3,000 MPs. One has to laugh at that because of course we all know how ridiculous that would be. We would have to hold our meetings in the Corel Centre, or Lansdowne Park or someplace.
There is no question that the bill does seek to amend the Constitution to bring a cap to the size of the House of Commons, that being 308 seats, as will happen after the next redistribution is effective the day the writ is dropped. That is the first point.
My colleague asked a very relevant question of who would lose under this kind of an idea. I would submit that the answer is no one. The basic principle of democratic representation, as we all know, is representation by population. That is the basic democratic principle on which the country tries to operate.
Given the size of our country, given the disparity and the size of some of the provinces and given the history of our country as it has evolved, we have to deviate somewhat significantly from this rep-by-pop democratic principle. However, one ought to adhere to it as much as possible. That is what the bill seeks to do. It seeks to put a cap on the size of the House of Commons.
As the bill says, if my colleague's riding were to increase in size in terms of population, there would not be a redistribution to split his riding. He would be allocated additional staff resources under an agreed upon formula, to allow him to serve that larger number of constituents. This also would avoid the disruption and expense of the redistributions that we so often have in this country, roughly every 10 years.
At some point, if his riding or my riding shrunk below a sensible minimum that it no longer justified having a member of Parliament, which does happen in Canada, then there would have to be a combination with another riding. However, the point is that redistribution, increases and decreases and shifting of population, would still be accommodated but within the principle of a cap on the size of the House of Commons.