Today's date: Monday September 01, 2014 Vol 47 Issue 35
   
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No changes to local ridings in latest boundary proposal

by Patrick Raftis

WELLINGTON CTY.

It now appears local electoral riding boundaries won’t be changing after all.

Last August, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission (FEBC) published a new electoral map that would have seen Mapleton, Minto and Wellington North - currently in the Perth-Wellington riding - join the rest of the county in a new configuration to be called Wellington-Woolwich. The proposal would have also added the Township of Woolwich and removed the Town of Halton Hills from the local mix.

That proposal marked a change from the commission’s first draft, in July of 2012, which left the Perth-Wellington and Wellington-Halton Hills ridings  status quo.

The FEBC then scheduled an additional public hearing in Cambridge on Nov. 20, “to engage citizens in a discussion on possible changes.”

Input from that hearing and others around the province resulted in a new proposal, which leaves local boundaries static.

“The commission decided to maintain the boundaries of the electoral district of Perth-Wellington because it is a largely rural, agricultural electoral district, and does not have any significant community of interest with the Townships of Wellesley and Wilmot,” states the latest report on the commission’s website. “Their communities of interest are more closely associated with the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. The typical rural-urban tension does not exist in this region because of close socio-economic ties between the communities.”

Of the decision to leave the electoral district of Wellington-Halton Hills intact, the commission notes the riding, “completely surrounds the electoral district of Guelph.

“The boundaries of the electoral district of Guelph are the city’s municipal boundaries. Its current population is 121,688. The population of the electoral district of Wellington-Halton Hills is 115,880. While the populations of both electoral districts are high, they cannot be adjusted without unreasonably interfering with municipal boundaries.”

Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong said submissions from the County of Wellington and other local municipalities may have impacted the commission’s decision.

Chong said he did not make any submissions on earlier proposals and doesn’t feel politicians should “interfere,” with boundary issues.

“I think these types of decisions are best left up to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission,” said Chong adding, “You don’t want to see the type of gerrymandering they have south of the border. I think Canada has a very good system in terms of both running elections and setting up electoral boundaries and I support that system.”

Nonetheless, Members of Parliament will now have an opportunity to add their input to the proposal through a House of Commons committee as the next step in the process. However Chong said the boundary proposals are unlikely to change further at this point.

“Typically, once it gets to this point, the boundaries as published are very likely to be the final boundaries,” said Chong, adding he is “pleased to continue representing the people of Wellington County.”

Perth-Wellington MP Gary Schellenberger could not be reached for comment by press time.

Vol 46 Issue 09

March 1, 2013

ReliableFord

Wellington County

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