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For the new electoral map, QS calls for 129 constituencies

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “It would be legitimate for us to increase the number of constituencies,” argued Sol Zanetti.

Patrice Bergeron – The Canadian Press in Quebec

8:13 p.m.

  • Quebec

Dissatisfied with the electoral map proposed for 2026, Québec solidaire wants the number of deputies in the National Assembly to be increased from 125 to 129, The Canadian Press learned on Tuesday.

QS's proposal to modify the electoral law to uncapped the number of constituencies will be presented to the Minister responsible for the Reform of Democratic Institutions, Jean-François Roberge, and to the other opposition parties.

The Parti Québécois (PQ) had also already proposed increasing the number of constituencies in September, but François Legault had affirmed that for the moment, there was no question of increasing the number of elected officials.

Tuesday, in a parliamentary committee, the project for a new electoral map was denounced by all the opposition parties and by CAQ elected officials, even the Minister of Justice and parliamentary leader of the government, Simon Jolin- Barrette.

The revision project presented in September by the Electoral Representation Commission notably eliminates two constituencies, due to the drop in the number of voters: Bonaventure, merged with Gaspé, and in the east of Montreal, Rosemont and Anjou-Louis-Riel would become a single riding, Rosemont-Louis-Riel.

On the other hand, two other constituencies would see the light of day: Marie-Lacoste-Gérin-Lajoie, in Centre-du-Québec, and Bellefeuille, in the Laurentians.

“For us, it is unacceptable” that Gaspésie loses another riding when it had lost one in 2012 (Matapédia), deplored the QS MP for Jean-Lesage, Sol Zanetti, in an interview with The Canadian Press late Tuesday afternoon.

Since 1989, the electoral law provides that the number of constituencies is capped at 125 in Quebec; but the population has increased from 7 million to 9 million in the meantime, he argued. Depending on the cap at 125, the commission must therefore redistribute, abolish or create constituencies according to strict criteria to ensure “the relative equality of voters”.

“Shaking populations”

“It would be legitimate to increase the number of constituencies,” argued Mr. Zanetti.

“The commission is caught in a dilemma with demographics, it cannot add constituencies without removing others, which shakes the populations who say to themselves: are we going to lose again of representation ? That’s what worries me. It's time to stop. »

He stressed that discussions were already underway with other political parties and that he was hopeful that the CAQ government would be open. Gaspé and Bonaventure are in fact represented by two CAQ elected officials. Anjou-Louis-Riel is also in the hands of the CAQ, but Rosemont is owned by QS.

In the parliamentary committee, the PQ deputy for Matane-Matapédia, Pascal Bérubé, pointed out that with all the changes to the boundaries of constituencies in Gaspésie, he would have to cover the territory of four MRCs if he is re-elected and that this would put his “safety at stake on the roads”, its very health.

Find out more

  • Gaspésie is mobilizing to preserve its two provincial constituencies
  • Élections Québec proposes the withdrawal of constituencies in Montreal and Gaspésie

“Of relentlessness”

“Why eastern Quebec ? asked Mr. Bérubé. For many I have met, it seems a bit like relentlessness against this region which is gradually losing its political weight.

He claimed an exceptional status, recalling that the law already allows exceptions for six constituencies, i.e. greater differences with the average number of voters per constituency.

“I find that my citizens are being flouted,” for her part denounced the CAQ MP for Mirabel, Sylvie D’Amours. She noted that the number of voters was increasing in her riding and that in 2028, it would reach 58,000, compared to the Quebec average of 52,000.

“Every vote must have the same weight everywhere in the territory. The vote of Mirabel voters should be as important as those of other regions. »

For his part, Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette argued that voters in the regions, where there are dozens of municipalities over a vast territory with a deputy's office often far away, “have the right to fair representation”, just as those of Montreal.

The three opposition parties, the Liberal Party (PLQ), Québec solidaire (QS) and the PQ, also ask the commission not only to take into account the number of voters in its criteria , but also of the total population, that is to say in particular immigrants who do not yet have the right to vote, but who require services from elected officials.

During the previous overhaul of the map in 2016, the PLQ supported the same argument, according to which it was necessary to take into account all newcomers to Montreal in the process of obtaining the right to vote, but the CAQ then argued that this would go against the principle of effective representation of the electoral law, that is to say of citizens who hold the right to vote.

The commission must ensure “the relative equality of voters”, so that “each voter can be represented fairly and equitably in the National Assembly”, recalled the president of the commission , Jean-François Blanchet, in his opening speech.

The revision of the map is carried out so that the number of voters in a constituency is neither higher nor lower than 25% of a quotient of an average determined at 50,694 voters. Only one exception: the constituency of Îles-de-la-Madeleine, protected by law.

However, the law also provides that the commission can deviate from the rule with a reasoned decision.

The commission determines electoral district boundaries based on “demographic, geographic and sociological considerations, such as population density, relative rate of population growth, accessibility, area and configuration of the region, the natural borders of the environment, as well as the boundaries of the municipalities”, provides the legislative text.

The PQ also proposes to increase the number of constituencies, set in the law between a minimum of 122 and a maximum of 125.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116