Federal electoral districts redistribution 2022

Part I – Introduction

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Quebec (the Commission) was established by proclamation, dated November 1, 2021, and published in the Canada Gazette on November 24, 2021, in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, R.S.C. 1985, Chapter E-3 (the Act). The Commission consists of the Chair, the Honourable Jacques Chamberland, retired Quebec Court of Appeal Justice, and members André Blais, Full Professor, Department of Political Science, Université de Montréal, and Louis Massicotte, retired Full Professor, Department of Political Science, Université Laval. The Chair was appointed by the Chief Justice of Quebec, the Honourable Manon Savard, while the other two members were appointed by the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Voting is the very foundation of any democracy.

In Canada, the right to vote is constitutionally protected by its inclusion in section 3 of the Constitution Act, 1982, Part 1 - Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter): "Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein."

The entire territory of Canada is divided into a number of electoral districts to ensure that the will of Canadian citizens who vote is adequately represented. The way a territory is divided into electoral districts is not frozen in time; it evolves with population movements. Updating the electoral map involves a large-scale readjustment of the boundaries every 10 years, based on the data from the last decennial census. As a result, throughout Canada, commissions independent of political power have been established, whose mission is to divide the territory of the province for which each commission has been constituted into electoral districts, to establish their respective boundaries and populations and, finally, to give them a name.

One of the reasons for the independence of these commissions is to counteract one of the shortcomings of some democracies, namely, the practice of manipulating electoral boundaries for partisan purposes.

Commissions do not have the mandate to change the number of electoral districts calculated by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada for each province.

The revision of the electoral map is tightly controlled by the Act. It involves a series of steps, the first of which is to develop a proposal "with all reasonable dispatch" (subsection 14(2)) after the Chief Electoral Officer publishes the calculation of the number of parliamentary seats in each province. This step has now been completed.

The second step will be for the Commission to consult with the people of Quebec by sitting in several locations across the province and, in order to allow as many people as possible to express their views, by holding some virtual sessions (see Part VI of the proposal). This is an essential step in the electoral map revision process. The Commission intends to devote about 20 days to this, as did the previous commission.

The third step will be for the Commission to incorporate the results of this consultation into its considerations and to prepare a report for presentation to the House of Commons.

The fourth and final step in the Commission's work will be to resolve any objections raised by members of Parliament (MPs) and, if necessary, amend its report before returning a certified copy to the Speaker of the House of Commons within 30 days.

At the end of the exercise, the Commission will have carried out three successive boundary redrawing projects: a proposal, intended to be the subject of consultations with the population of Quebec; a report, prepared in the wake of the public consultations and intended to be the subject of a final consultation with members of the House of Commons; and lastly, a final report that will take MPs' objections into account, if applicable.

The Commission's work is subject to compliance with the Official Languages Act.