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432-00811 (Parliament and politics)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

We, the undersigned citizens of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons to the following:

Whereas, certain regions and provinces of our country face underrepresentation in Canada's legislative decision-making process, and that this underrepresentation had led to an institutional disparity and has created a crisis in national unity. Further, the framers of our Constitution intended that the Senate, as Canada's upper legislative body in our bicameral parliament, would be allocated to ensure fair representation. Whereas the original regional distribution has not evolved as our federation has grown and changed. Therefore, regions of Canada demand fair representation in the Senate to address the uneven distribution of Canada's population (especially where a region an oversized economic contribution to the Federation), and to provide a balance to safeguard regional interests.

Whereas, we cannot remain silent in the face of a lack of institutional representation in Canada's Parliament;

Therefore we, the undersigned, call on the Government to take the following actions to address the situation:

1. Take the steps required to establish equal representation for each province in the Senate.

Response by the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Kevin Lamoureux

Section 22 of the Constitution Act, 1867 allocates 24 seats in the Senate to each of the following four divisions: Ontario, Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and the Western provinces. The Constitution also provides for how the seats are divided amongst provinces in the latter two divisions. Reallocation of the provincial seats in the Senate is a constitutional change that would require engaging in negotiations with provinces to obtain sufficient support. Pursuant to section 42 of the Constitution Act, 1982, changes to the number of members by which a province is entitled to be represented in the Senate requires an amendment supported by the House of Commons, the Senate, and the legislatives assemblies of seven provinces representing 50% of the population of the provinces. While the Government of Canada understands concerns about fairness in provincial representation in the Senate, Canadians have been clear that they do not wish to enter into complex constitutional negotiations at this time.

Nonetheless, the Government of Canada has taken action to restore confidence in the Senate and improve its capacity to serve Canadians within the existing constitutional framework. In 2016, the Government established a non-partisan, merit-based process for Senate appointments. The Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments (the Advisory Board) plays an important role in Canada’s democracy, providing the Prime Minister with non-binding, merit-based recommendations for Senate appointments that reflect Canada’s diversity, make a significant contribution to the work of Parliament, and ensures a high standard of integrity, collaboration, and non-partisanship in the Senate.

In addition to its role to provide sober, second thought in legislative review, the Senate also plays an important role in ensuring regional representation and the representation of minority voices. The Advisory Board is required to give priority consideration to gender balance and diversity with a view to enable the representation of all Canadian communities.

Presented to the House of Commons
Damien Kurek (Battle River—Crowfoot)
April 15, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00811)
Government response tabled
May 31, 2021
Photo - Damien Kurek
Battle River—Crowfoot
Conservative Caucus
Alberta

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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