Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)
Mr. Harris (Grey-Bruce):
Mr. Speaker, this bill, as I have already explained on two occasions in the house, is a bill which was recommended to the house by the special committee on redistribution.
The purpose of the bill is to give legal expression to the decision which has been reached by this house in amending the British North America Act earlier this month. It sets out the number of seats which are allotted to the various provinces, the district of Mackenzie and the district of Yukon, and provides, incidentally, instructions as to the interpretation, descriptions and the like. It
is, so far as I have been able to determine, in the form which has been common to these bills for some time, and certainly in the past two or three redistributions. It follows almost precisely the wording of the 1947 act, with minor variations. The procedure which we hope will be adopted, if second reading is given, is that I shall move that this bill be referred to the special committee on redistribution for consideration, and for the purpose of attaching thereto the schedule of the constituencies as defined by that committee. That, I believe, has been the custom since 1903.
There will be other amendments suggested, I think, in that committee-if I may be permitted to suggest this to the house- having in mind the fact that some constituencies will be renamed, and therefore amendments will be required in the Canada Elections Act.
I want to point out to the house again that this is merely a bill for the purpose of carrying out the allotment of members among the provinces as determined by the House of Commons recently. It does not contain and makes no reference to the boundaries of the constituencies, which have not yet been reported to the house, nor will they be until the schedule has been affixed to the bill.
Subtopic: READJUSTMENT OP REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS