Press release no. 1 – Revision of the electoral map of Québec – The Commission de la représentation électorale: its status and mandate and the phases of its work

QUEBEC CITY, March 17, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ – In the context of the tabling in the National Assembly of the preliminary report of the Commission de la représentation électorale, its chair, Lucie Fiset, wishes to reiterate the status and mandate of the Commission and announce the phases of its work.

The status and composition of the CRE

In Québec, the process of delimitating electoral divisions is prescribed by the Election Act, and this responsibility is entrusted to the Commission de la représentation électorale (CRE). The Commission is made up of the Chief Electoral Officer, Ms. Fiset, who is its chair, and of two commissioners appointed by the National Assembly to represent Québec’s qualified electors, namely Serge Courville and Bruno Jean. Vested with decision-making power, the Commission is an independent body and must carry out its mandate with neutrality and impartiality.

The mandate of the CRE concerning the delimitation of electoral divisions

On a Québec-wide basis, the CRE’s mandate is to divide the territory for electoral purposes, taking into account the rules defined by the Act. At the core, a fundamental principle must guide all electoral division delimitation work: the effective representation of electors. This principle was in fact recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1991.

The first condition of effective representation lies in the equality of each elector’s vote. This means that each elected representative must essentially represent the same number of electors. However, this equality can only be relative, as a combination of demographic, geographical and sociological factors must also be taken into account to ensure effective representation. Two provisions of the Election Act define these criteria.

The first stipulates that the number of electors in an electoral division must not be greater or less than 25% of the average number of electors per electoral division. As part of the current exercise, this average was established as 48,387 electors per electoral division, a result obtained by dividing the total number of electors on November 30, 2014 (6,048,383) by the total number of electoral divisions (125). This date was determined by the Commission in order to produce the preliminary report tabled today.

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