Boundaries of Wild Rose constituency to change
Wild Rose constituents who plan to cast their vote in the 2015 federal election may see changes to their riding’s boundaries and name.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Alberta recently submitted a proposal that includes renaming the Wild Rose constituency to Airdrie-Banff. It proposes that the new boundaries run along the northern limit of Rocky View County and the MD of Bighorn, the Trans-Canada Highway to the south, Banff National Park to the west and Highway 2 to the east.
“There will be pretty significant changes to the constituency,” said Wild Rose MP Blake Richards. “Our population is about 40,000 over what is should be, with all the growth we’ve experienced in recent years. In order to ensure representation is equal across the province and across the country, there are going to be some changes that will obviously have to come to the riding.”
The new riding is expected to include the municipalities of Airdrie, Crossfield, Cochrane, Morley, Canmore, Banff, the MD of Bighorn, Banff National Park, part of Rocky View County and portions of Springbank formerly belonging to the Macleod riding, which will be renamed Foothills.
“For the most part, the portions of Rocky View County that are presently in Wild Rose would remain within the new Airdrie-Banff constituency,” said Richards.
“The biggest changes will come more to the north part of the riding in Mountain View County, which will now be included in (the Red Deer riding).”
The proposed changes are just some of many required as a result of the increase in Alberta’s population of 670,450 from 2001 to 2011, according to the recent federal census.
This prompted the federal government to increase the number of Alberta’s seats in the House of Commons from 28 to 34, meaning the creation of six new ridings.
“Every 10 years when the census is done, the commission reviews the boundaries,” said Richards.
“We want to make sure representation from all provinces is reasonably equal and that Alberta is treated more fairly, so we’re adding six more seats.”
The census found Wild Rose’s population to be 138,617.
The proposed boundary adjustments would bring that number down to 105,442, making it more in line with the recommended electoral quota of 107,213.
Richards said this is just the first step in the process.
“This is just the first proposal and we will now review everything and talk with the public to see if any further changes are required,” he said.
“We want to make sure people have the opportunity to comment on it and that we are being treated fairly.”
Following a series of public hearings that will be held in September, the Commission will review its proposal and submit its final report to the Chief Electoral Officer by Dec. 21.
Two public hearings will be held at the Harry Hays Conference Centre in Calgary on Sept. 24 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., with a third on Sept. 25 at 1:30 p.m.
“I definitely encourage people to contribute to the process,” said Richards. “Anyone who has concerns, or even those that agree with the changes can let the Commission know by coming to one of the public hearings or sending in a written submission.”
Richards added he will approve of the final decision, so long as his constituents do.
“As long as the area is being treated fairly and the residents have their say, I will live with whatever changes the Commission decides on,” he said.
For more information, visit www.federal-redistribution.ca