Northern Ontarians Oppose Proposed Redesign of Their Electoral Map
The black lines show the current electoral boundaries, while the pink lines show those proposed by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario. (Archives)
Residents of Northern Ontario were unanimous. Consultations over the proposed redrawing of the region's electoral map show that they oppose the idea.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission of Ontario, which reviews the electoral map every 10 years, has held several meetings over the past month to hear from the public.
People in Kenora, Sioux Lookout and Timmins came out to share their thoughts on the redistricting, which would reduce the north of the province from ten ridings to nine.
This includes the creation of a huge riding in Ontario's Far North, named Kiiwetinoong—Mushkegowuk, stretching from Manitoba to Quebec.
MP Timmins-James Bay New Democrat Charlie Angus, who attended the consultation in Timmins, believes the proposal ignores distances between communities and towns of interest.< p class="styled__StyledLegend-sc-v64krj-0 cfqhYM">Charlie Angus believes that Northern Ontario should not be underrepresented. (Archives)
We shouldn't be punished because our region is growing, but not at the same rate as urban southern Ontario, he says.
The Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act aims for a minimum population of 116,590 in each constituency.
Even with one less, new ridings in Northern Ontario would not meet this target.
Kenora-Thunder Bay-Rainy River: 100,911
Thunder Bay-Upper North: 99,119
Sault Ste. Marie: 97,308
Manitoulin-Nickel Belt: 99,284
Parry Sound-Muskoka: 102,255
Representatives across the North are concerned about the adverse effects of the redistricting.
Right now we have the status quo. It's not great, but we survive, says Charlie Angus.
The MP believes such an overhaul, as political alignment gains momentum; extent, demonstrates a lack of confidence in the electoral process.
“It can create a lot of damage as it would tear apart our economic and community development relationships. Afterwards, we would have to clean everything up when the marshals were finished.
— Charlie Angus, Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay
Douglas Judson, a lawyer and city councilor in Fort Fances, says we need to stop believing that all Northern Ontario areas are identical.
Fort Frances Councilman Douglas Judson. (Archives)
How could anyone represent the diversity in the communities that stretch from the Manitoba border to the James Bay coast and all the way to 'in Quebec?, he wonders.
According to him, the ridings should be divided up in such a way as to effectively represent each region.
With information from CBC's Ashishvangh Contractor< /em>