I propose we create three new Territories. You should be very familiar with one of them.
Nord du Quebec
Ontario Far North
These would be our three new Territories, which I will examine individually a bit later.
But, I also propose we lose three territories. Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon would no longer be federal territories
They'd be Provincial Territories. Yukon would become part of British Columbia, the Northwest Territories part of Alberta, and Nunavut part of Manitoba. The Territories would retain all of their powers - none of that would change - but now the Territories will be "property" of the Province to which they are attached.
The same would, of course, apply to our new Territories. That means they remain part of the provinces from which they are "born". The difference is that rather than their current powers (none) they now have all the powers of a territory.
The Federal "constitution" would recognize these territories. The powers given to the territories would be guaranteed in the document. Provinces could expand the territories, or, give them additional powers, but could not reduce the powers without consent of the territory. The Federal government could also fund the territories directly without having to go though the province.
Territories would be counted as they are in population calculations for seats in the commons - meaning each of these would become like Labrador, a single Riding. The net effect would mean that Ontario and Quebec keep their supposed new share of seats, but these new Territories would also get seats. They would also get instaseats, meaning by-elections!
Nord du Quebechttp://www.the506.com/elxnmaps/can2011/24046.html
Is like this. See that straight line where the bloc poll is? that'd be the southern boundary of the territory. Ideally the MP would be given the choice which half he wants to represent and a by-election would be held for the other half.
The Ontario riding would take chunks out of Kenora and Charlie Angus' riding, but not a significant chunk of either population wise.
This would bring the number of MP's to 310. Additionally, Senators would need to be appointed, however, they'd all remain within their regional limits. Ontario has 24 and Quebec has 24 meaning that now Ontario outside the Territory has 23, and the Territory has 1.
So why create these territories?
Labrador has always been a bit "separate" from Newfoundland, and should have it's own local government.
Nord-du-Quebec is something that the Quebec government itself wants to give more powers, but they can't figure out how or what powers. Given that this Territory would remain under Quebec jurisdiction, meaning that any Referendum or the application of the results of said Referendum would be up to Quebec and not the Territory, it shouldn't be terribly opposed.
The Ontario Far North has been the source of much of the problems with native reserves in recent history. In addition this area is nearly 80%-90% native. Giving them their own territory would allow them to solve their own problems without having to rely on other governments to do it for them.
Why tie old territories to provinces?
With everything going on, it is easy for the Federal government to forget about the Territories. They have 10 provinces to deal with and 3 Territories. Dealing with them is just not a priority. By locking on a single territory to a single province, suddenly it is a "thing". BC for example would only have one territory, Yukon, and thus would not be distracted by anything else on this level. Yukon meanwhile goes from 1 out of 310 MPs to 1 out of 86 MLAs, and not just "from", as it would retain it's MP. Suddenly the Territory is on people's minds and agenda.
Not only is this healthy for the territory, but for the province as well. Currently the feds can take the resources from the north without sharing it with any province, but being under a province would mean that revenue goes to said province. It might sound like "stealing", but remember, the feds are already doing this. In effect, this is like replacing the old bully with yourself - and the rewards you can get from that.
Lastly, it brings some stability in the event that the country goes though another "break up" crisis. Rather than worry "what will happen with the territories", we know the answer. They'd go with their provinces.
I think this is a good idea and if I was PM, I'd implement it.