With the province of Alberta seeing an increase in population by more than 20 per cent in the last eight years, the government has established an Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission (AEBC), which will revisit electoral boundaries.
The Commission will review the existing boundaries and names for the 87 electoral constituencies and will report to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta by Oct. 31, 2017.
Appointed on Oct. 31, 2016, the Commission will be taking into consideration, public input, population figures and relative population density throughout Alberta, existing municipal and natural boundaries and effective representation.
In a letter to the county, the AEBC Chair Hon. Myra Bielby outlined that one of the most important aspects of this review would be hearing from interested Albertans who wish to contribute to the redrawing of Alberta’s constituency map.
Responding to this, Reeve Wayne Nixon said, “The County of Settler No. 6 has concerns about revising Alberta’s electoral boundaries.”
Nixon also added that the County is concerned because the review might result in pulling political representation away from the rural areas by expanding the electoral borders.
“Stretching our electoral borders will lead to diminishing political presence in our region, while shifting more power to the urban centres whose goals and priorities are vastly different from agriculture and rural development,” Nixon said. “When electoral boundaries are expanded in rural areas it becomes very difficult for elected representatives to adequately and efficiently access his or her large ridings, not to mention extremely difficult for citizens to access their elected representatives.”
Nixon further stated that the county residents have the same rights and deserve to have the same access to the government as those residing within urban centres.
“We would not support a proposal recommending the expansion of our geographical electoral boundaries, and urge the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission to give rural Albertans the voice and consideration we all deserve,” Nixon stated.
The public can provide feedback and give their input by preparing a written submission or by making a presentation at one of the public hearings, the dates and locations of which will soon be announced.