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Provinces and Territories

Key Terms

Rep by Pop (Representation by Population)

The expression "rep by pop" is an abbreviation of "representation by population."

Under the Act of Union, which became effective in 1841, Canada West and Canada East were given an equal number of representatives in Parliament. This measure had been requested and obtained by the British population of United Canada, who wished to ensure equal Parliamentary representation even if, at the time, the largely francophone Canada East had the higher population.

The census of 1851 revealed that the population of Canada West had exceeded that of Canada East. From then on, politicians in Canada West were vocal in their demand for an amendment to this type of representation, which was no longer to their advantage.

Although some elected members of the "parti rouge" supported this claim as a democratic ideal, most members of Parliament for Canada East were against it. Rep by pop would weaken their position in the Union and threaten the survival of French-Canadian institutions.

This issue was not resolved until Confederation in 1867.

Sources

Careless, J. M. S. -- "Rep by Pop." -- The 1999 Canadian encyclopedia : world edition. -- Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 1998.

Lacoursière, J. ; Provencher, J. ; Vaugeois, D. -- Canada Québec : synthèse historique. -- Montréal : ERPI, 1976. --  P. 359.