Quebec finally moves toward a fair electoral map.

Author:Cliche, Paul

This is a postscript to Paul Cliche's article "Back to the 1950s: The Liberals and PO are making a mockery of Quebec's electoral map" (Inroads, Winter/Spring 2012, pp. 105-11).

Quebec finally has a new electoral map, much fairer than the one it replaces. In the previous map's 11 years of existence, population shifts had made it one of the most disproportionate in North America. The new map will be in place for the next election, which Premier Jean Charest will almost certainly call before the end of 2012.

The new map not only makes major changes affecting the boundaries of 86 of the 125 ridings, but it also reduces by three the number of ridings in underpopulated rural eastern Quebec while adding three ridings to the burgeoning Montreal suburbs. The legal requirement to limit the number of voters per riding to no more than 25 per cent above or below the provincial average is now respected in all but four ridings, as opposed to 35 under the old map, where some rural ridings had fewer than half the voters of some suburban Montreal ridings.

In the last issue I described at length the various delaying tactics used by the major parties. The result was that adoption of the new map, which should take less than a year, has ended up taking three and a half years. The Liberals first tried unsuccessfully three times to pass laws to change the criteria so as to favour outlying regions at the expense of residents of...

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