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Quebec will stop the overhaul of the electoral map

Photo: Jacques Boissinot Archives The Canadian Press The Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions, Jean-François Roberge, agreed on Thursday to reopen the Electoral Act.

The government of François Legault is preparing to put the brakes on the overhaul of the electoral map, which planned the elimination of a constituency in Gaspésie and another in Montreal.

The Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions, Jean-François Roberge, agreed on Thursday to reopen the Electoral Act. It will postpone the next redistribution of Quebec constituencies until 2030 and will review, in a “second phase”, the criteria for delimitation of the electoral map. The idea of ​​adding seats to the existing 125, which was “not in the cards” six months ago, is no longer ruled out by the Legault government.

“After discussion with my opposition colleagues, I think we have a consensus, better than that, I think there is unanimity,” said Mr. Roberge on Thursday during a transpartisan press briefing held with colleagues from the three other parties represented in the National Assembly. The bill he will table should arrive “in the coming weeks,” and the CAQ representative intends to adopt it before the end of the session.

The Electoral Representation Commission (CRE) recommended last September a broad revision of the electoral map, which provided for the addition of two seats for the Laurentides and Centre-du-Québec, but also the disappearance of two ridings, in Gaspésie and in eastern Montreal.

Criticism of this decision has continued since. Last fall, the mayor of Gaspé, Daniel Côté, said that such a change would lead Gaspésie into a “spiral of devitalization.” In a parliamentary committee to study the proposal, last month, parliamentarians from all political parties urged the CRE to reverse course.

In interview with Le Devoir, in mid-February, the chief electoral officer of Quebec, Jean-François Blanchet, affirmed that the current deadlines limited the possibility of exploring a plan B.

“Size must be a criterion”

The Electoral Law provides that “each constituency must be delimited in such a way that […] the number of voters in a constituency is neither more nor less than 25%” than the average number of voters by constituency. The area of ​​territory covered by the deputy is not a criterion considered in the electoral division.

Prime Minister François Legault denounced this reality on Thursday. “When we look at the size of the territory, that has to be a criterion. We cannot only say: we look at the number of voters,” he argued from Henryville, in Montérégie, on the sidelines of a press briefing held in the company of the MP for Iberville, Audrey Bogemans.

“There, I’m talking to you about Gaspésie, but there are concerns in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, concerns on the North Shore, in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean,” he said. -he adds. According to a report made public last week by the Institute of Statistics of Quebec, the Côte-Nord and Abitibi-Témiscamingue are two of the regions having seen more inhabitants leave them in 2022-2023 than new residents move in. install in their homes.

“The consultation exercise showed us the limits of the current electoral law. The status quo no longer holds,” said liberal MP Monsef Derraji, a few minutes before unanimously adopting a motion requesting “a broad and non-partisan reflection on possible modifications to the Law”.

After saying that there were no plans to add elected officials to the Blue Room in October, Minister Roberge put water in his wine on Thursday. “That’s one of the things that could be considered in phase two. There are going to be discussions in that regard,” he said. The Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire both proposed to Minister Roberge last winter to increase the number of seats in the National Assembly.

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