February 19, 1923 (14th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Robert King Anderson

Conservative (1867-1942)


Majority representation in the House of Commons should be based on the popular vote. The people are supposed to rule in a democracy, and the majority of the voting people should be represented in the House. But proportional representation gives us minority representation. It is intended for one purpose and one purpose only, to give minorities in the country representation in the House. In many instances these minorities are so small as not to be entitled to representation at all.
The hon. member for Brant in his speech last year made this statement:
The remarks I have ventured to address to the House to-day can make little or no appeal to those who do not believe in democracy.
I think that that statement is scarcely correct. I believe it applies more to proportional representation. I believe that proportional representation will appeal more to the enemies of democracy than to its friends. You will find the people of other countries who have come to Canada and brought with them perhaps some of the ideas of their own country lined up behind proportional representation. I do not mean to say that those who would advocate proportional representation are not in favour of democracy, a great many of them are in favour of democracy even though they support proportional representation; but I say that behind proportional representation you will find all those who are opposed to democracy and would be very pleased to see it destroyed. The hon. member went on to say that there are many in Canada who are not in favour of democracy. I do not know that
Proportional Representation

there are so many of that type in this country. However, that may be, I do not think there are any hon. members of this House who are opposed to democracy; I would take it that all of us here are in favour of democracy and are working in its best interests notwithstanding the fact that our views on certain questions may not be the same. Therefore taking our democratic institutions all in all I cannot see that proportional representation will, in any way, give a better representation in this House of the will of the people. The will of the people must rule in Canada, and it is upon that will we depend for the maintenance of the present constitution and the proper enforcement of our laws.
Proportional representation, to my mind, will mean an increasing number of groups in parliament, not only in the provinces but in the Dominion, and this will have the result of creating group parliaments. Group parliaments and group representatives cannot be for the best interests of the country, because that state of things inevitably leads to bargaining for position. When you get several groups in the popular chamber they lose sight of the best interests of the country, of the general interests of the state; they look only to the interests of their groups and they will go ahead bargaining with one another in order that they maintain some selfish interest that will apply only to the group with which they are identified, and they will lose sight of the welfare of the country as a whole.- I cannot find myself in harmony with the representations made by the hon. member for Brant, and must say that I am strongly opposed to the system of proportional representation.

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