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so elected shall during the continuance
of such absence of the Speaker have and execute all the powers, privileges, and duties of Speaker.
(i) "Until the Parliament of Canada otherwise provides."-See note (iii) to section 41, ante. By 48 & 49 Vic. c. 1, there was created the office of Deputy Speaker, with powers as by that statute defined.
48. The presence of at least twenty House of members of the House of Commons shall Commons (i). be necessary to constitute a meeting of the House for the exercise of its powers, and for that purpose the Speaker shall be reckoned as a member.
49. Questions arising in the House of Voting in Commons shall be decided by a majority of voices other than that of the Speaker and when the voices are equal, but not otherwise, the Speaker shall have a vote.
(i) “Quorum”—“voting.”—Compare sections 35 and 36, and see notes to those sections. See also section 87, and notes thereto, post.
50. Every House of Commons shall Duration of
continue for five years (i) from the day of the return of the writs for choosing the House (subject to be sooner dissolved (ii) by the Governor-General), and no longer.
(i) "Shall continue for five years."-This is one of those matters which, it is submitted, the Dominion parliament has no power to alter-see note (i) to section 35, antewhile provincial legislatures may lengthen or shorten the period of their own duration. See section 92, sub-section 1.
(ii) "Dissolved by the Governor-General."-See chapter VIII., ante, p. 165, for a full discussion of the powers of the Governor-General in connection with the summoning, proroguing, and dissolving of parliament.
Decennial Readjustment of Representation.
51. On the completion of the census in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, and of each subsequent decennial census, the representation of the four Provinces shall be readjusted by such authority (i), in such manner and from such time as the Parliament of Canada from time to time provides, subject and according to the following rules:
(1) Quebec shall have the fixed number of sixty-five members.
(2) There shall be assigned to each of the other Provinces such a number of members as will bear the same proportion to the number of its population (ascertained at such census) as the number sixtyfive bears to the number of the population of Quebec (so ascertained).
(3) In the computation of the number of members for a Province a fractional part not exceeding onehalf of the whole number requisite for entitling the Province to a member shall be disregarded; but a fractional part exceeding onehalf of that number shall be equivalent to the whole number.
(4) On any such re-adjustment the
then existing Parliament.
(i) "By such authority."-From the debates on the Quebec Resolutions in the parliament of (old) Canada, it would appear that some uncertainty existed as to the terms of the 24th resolution. As printed in the volume of Debates on Confederation (published by authority), resolutions Nos. 23 and 24, read as follows:
23. The legislature of each province shall divide such province into the proper number of constituencies and define the boundaries of each of them.
"24. The local legislature of each province may, from time to time, alter the electoral districts for the purpose of representation in such local legislature, and distribute the representation to which the province is entitled in such local legislature, in any manner such legislature may see fit."
In Gray's "Confederation "-Mr. Gray was a delegate to the Conference, from New Brunswick-the 24th resolution is given thus:
"The local legislature of each province may, from time to time, alter the electoral districts for the purposes of representation in the House of Commons, and distribute the representation to
which the province is entitled in any manner such legislature may see fit."
In moving the resolutions in the House, the AttorneyGeneral-West (Sir John A. Macdonald) said:
"A good deal of misrepresentation has arisen from the accidental omission of some words from the 24th resolution. It was thought that by it the local legislatures were to have the power of arranging hereafter, and. from time to time, of re-adjusting the different constituencies, and settling the size and boundaries of the various electoral districts. The meaning of the resolution is simply this that for the first General Parliament, the arrangement of constituencies shall be made by the existing local legislatures; that in Canada, for instance, the present Canadian parliament shall arrange what are to be the constituencies of Upper Canada, and to make such changes as may be necessary in arranging for the 17 additional members given to it by the constitution; and that it may also, if it sees fit, alter the boundaries of the existing constituencies in Lower Canada. In short, this parliament shall settle what shall be the different constituencies electing members to the first Federal Parliament. And so the other provinces, the legislatures of each will fix the limits of their several constituencies in the session in which they adopt the new constitution. Afterwards the local legislatures may alter their own electoral limits as they please, for their own local elections. But it would evidently be improper to leave to the local legislatures the power to alter the constituencies sending members to the General Legislature, after the General Legislature shall have been called into existence. . . . No; after the General Parliament meets, in order that it may have full control of its own legislation, and be assured of its position, it must have the full power of arranging, and re-arranging the electoral limits of its constituencies as it pleases, such being one of the powers essentially necessary to such a legislature." Confed. Deb. p. 39.
Both of these resolutions were struck out at the conference, in London, of the delegates from those provinces which had agreed to the Quebec Resolutions, probably because the limits of the various constituencies had been
settled by the local legislatures in the manner pointed out by Sir John Macdonald, and such arrangement was put into statutory form, in section 41. Nothing appears in these resolutions, or in the debates thereon, in reference to the question of delegating the power of "distribution" to an authority independent of parliament; but, as we write, the question has been raised in the Dominion parliament, and two of the Fathers of Confederation are reported to have stated that the above section 51, was deliberately framed as it is, in order to take from parliament this dangerous power -dangerous in the hands of any majority-and to secure its exercise by an independent authority. If such was the intention, it has been persistently ignored, and the re-distribution after both the census of 1871 and of 1881, was effected by an Act of the Dominion parliament in the exercise of its ordinary legislative functions; and an Act (55-56 Vic. c. 11) has just been passed by the Dominion parliament providing for the re-distribution consequent upon the census of 1892. As a legal proposition, the power of the Dominion parliament to constitute itself the authority by which the re-adjustment is to be effected, cannot be doubted whatever may be said of the impropriety of so doing. Under section 40, ante, p. 283, the power of the Dominion parliament to alter electoral districts is clearly established. See note (i) to section 41. This section 51 applies only to the re-adjustment of the representation of the provinces as between themselves, and has no reference to the boundaries of the electoral districts in each province, and it would appear therefore that the readjustment, under this section, is a matter merely of mathematics. The wording of section 52 bears out this construction, indicating as it does that the "fixed quantity" in the scheme of representation, is the proportionate representation of the provinces. The electoral districts may be altered at any time (section 40), and the total number of members increased (section 52), by the parliament of Canada,