A united Wellington

Every few years riding boundaries are discussed with an eye to determining fair representation for residents across Canada.

Until quite recently, it appeared the ridings for Perth-Wellington and Wellington-Halton Hills would remain untouched.

In a surprise move, since neither local MP seemed aware, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission has proposed a consolidation of all of Wellington into a new riding called Wellington-Woolwich. This would see Halton Hills in the south and Perth in the northern riding lopped off, with Woolwich township added back in.

This county has been served well federally by Gary Schellenberger and Michael Chong. Similarly, Randy Pettapiece and Ted Arnott have been quite active on behalf of residents at Queen’s Park.

Any disruption is of course a concern. Having noted that, uniting Wellington makes sense. The idea for this new riding came about after consultation with electoral districts adjoining these present ridings.

The concept of lumping Woolwich in with Wellington is not a first, since there was a time not that long ago when the riding of Waterloo-Wellington existed. Wellington at that time was apportioned off into three distinct ridings. The last redistribution brought Wellington into its present split of two ridings.

The upset that comes with changing riding boundaries is very much a function of population growth.

It would seem reasonable to forecast that Wellington could well stand on its own in a few short years, since heavy population growth is expected over the next decade. Whether that fact should form part of the Commission’s decision is something that county politicians may wish to push.

Redrawing lines only to redraw them in a relatively short period of time does not make much sense. Wellington is a county of growth and the dealings they have with their members of parliament and provincial parliament are critical to providing good government locally.

Regrettably, relationships in place today will be severed should boundaries change again. This is perhaps the greatest argument against automatic reviews.

Regardless of party stripe, we figure our MPs and MPPs all fulfill their duties and work hard on behalf of all constituents. Starting from scratch on files just because an independent body decides a change is needed in who represents who seems a bit wasteful to us.

As population increases, changes to ridings are certain, but as MP Schellenberger points out, that shouldn’t automatically mean changes to accommodate urban growth.

Interested residents are encouraged to visit www.federal-redistribution.ca  and attend the hearing on Nov. 20 at 9:30am at Cambridge City Hall.