April 9, 1952 (21st Parliament, 6th Session)


Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)


Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister) moved:

That a select committee be appointed to consider the results of the census of 1951 and the readjustment of the representation in the House of Commons necessitated thereby, with power to consider whether the said readjustment should be made in strict accord with the rules presently set out in the British North America Acts 1867 to 1951 and the other statutes in that behalf, or whether it is desirable
(a) to provide that the representation of any province in the House of Commons on the readjustment of the representation of the provinces therein on the completion of each decennial census including that for the year 1951 shall not be reduced by more than 15 per cent below the representation to which such province was entitled under rules 1 to 4, inclusive, in subsection (1) of section 51 of the British North America Act at the last preceding readjustment of the representation of the province; and that there shall be no reduction in the representation of any province as a result of which that province would have a smaller number of members than that of any other province which, according to the results of the then last decennial census, did not have a larger population; and
(b) that there shall be assigned separately two members instead of one to the Yukon and Northwest Territories or any part thereof, and that the total number of members as provided by the aforesaid section 51 of the British North America Act and the terms of union between Canada and Newfoundland from time to time be increased or decreased accordingly; with instructions to prepare a bill or bills with schedules to give effect to its findings and conclusions and to contain and describe the several electoral divisions entitled to return members to this House of Commons; with power to send for persons, papers and records and to examine witnesses, and to report from time to time; and that notwithstanding standing order 65, the committee shall consist of thirty-seven members to be designated by the house at a later date.
He said: In the few minutes that are left before six o'clock, Mr. Speaker, I do not expect to be able to make all the statement that I intended to submit to the house on this motion. Perhaps I can just outline the situation and complete it then at the earliest opportunity after Easter. I understand that the Monday of the first week we return here is private members' day, and that on Tuesday the financial critics of the official opposition and of the other groups wish to deal 55704-904
Redistribution Committee with the budget. I would hope that, if we cannot dispose of that motion to go into committee of ways and means on Tuesday, after the position of the various critics has been stated to the house and to the country, the debate may be adjourned so that we may revert to this motion to set up a committee to deal with this problem of redistribution. I am not asking the house to make any decision, but I am just throwing that out as a suggestion, because I think it would be desirable to have this committee set up at the earliest possible moment.

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