A while ago I wrote a piece on the proposed federal boundaries, from the federal riding commission, for VUE weekly. The commission has released their most recent recommendations based on the town halls and public complaint period that was open in fall of 2012. These proposed boundaries will now go to parliamentary committee, and there are some significant changes from the original boundaries drawn that were presented to the public prior to open houses held across the country.
Noticeably, the Southern Alberta riding boundaries have shifted – keeping the proposed Lethbridge boundary to the city and the county, but grouping much of southern Alberta into the re-distributed Medicine Hat riding. This could be considered a win for the team of politically interested citizens and the Member of Parliament currently representing the Lethbridge riding who advocated for keeping Cardston and the Country of Warner in one riding to protect the cultural interets of that area, or “communities of interest”.
This scenario divides the region south of Lethbridge into separate ridings which I believe is not in our best interest. It places both counties into remote, isolated corners of vast ridings, with which we have little in common and very few community ties. It also ignores the commission’s mandate to avoid splitting ‘communities of interest’ to the extent possible.
It certainly will make the nominations for the Conservative candidate in both the Medicine Hat and the now much geographically smaller Lethbridge ridings rather interesting, perhaps leading to some hotly contested candidate contests.
The rest of Alberta also sees some changes with the new boundaries, and as Daveberta points out in his analysis of the proposed boundaries:
Also interesting to watch will be Calgary-Centre, where last year’s hotly-contested federal by-election drew national attention. Was the close race in Calgary-Centre the beginning of a new trend for that city or was it simply a mid-term anomaly?
These proposed boundaries have already been filed with the Speaker, and will now go to a Parliamentary Committee. Once in committee MPs may file written objections within 30 days of the report’s submission to committee – objections must be signed by a minimum of 10 MPs. Once the 30 day objection period has passed, the committee issues a report to the commission and in June of this year the final report will be submitted to the Speaker of the House. Public consultation for the proposed boundaries are now over, though MPs continue to be able to request changes/file complaints.
For an excellent analysis of the ridings and the proposed changes when it comes to party wins in those ridings check out Daveberta’s recent post, Alberta’s new federal ridings released.