|Proposed boundary leads to questions|
|Local Content - Editorial|
|Written by production|
|Wednesday, 02 January 2013 16:01|
The latest recommendations by the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission (AEBC), which handed down newly proposed constituency boundaries last month, certainly has had local politicians feeling like they got a lump of coal in their stockings.
Be it MP Lavar Payne, Taber Mayor Ray Bryant or Municipal District of Taber Reeve Brian Brewin, all of them have voiced their concerns and dismay over the proposed constituency boundaries, thinking perhaps the AEBC should have been put on Santa’s naughty list.
The commission proposal has the Medicine Hat riding which the M.D. is currently part of to be redrawn to follow the ‘Mormon Trail’ all the way to Cardston and beyond.
Brooks would be removed from the Medicine Hat riding, to become part of a new Bow River constituency along with Taber and Vauxhall — one of six new Alberta ridings.
Encompassing a vast tract of territory, which in addition to the M.D. of Taber includes the counties of Vulcan, Newell, Wheatland and parts of the counties of Kneehill and Rocky View — it will range from Three Hills in the north to Taber in the south, a distance of almost 300 kilometres.
Times editor Greg Price got to drive most of that distance flying home for the holidays, trekking past Chestermere on the way to Calgary, and yes — that is quite a trek.
Politicians are worried there may not be ample representation of their local politician having to travel such far distances to cover the whole area. These various events you have seen MP Lavar Payne attend in the past are not just a chance for one-minute speeches at the beginning or free meals, it is a chance to bend the ear of your elected official over the concerns for your area.
Given the sheer size of the proposed Bow River constituency, face time with your MP would be assured to be few and far between.
With the fervor caused by some late last year when expenses were released of elected politicians, those expenses would certainly not decrease for a politician representing the area adequately with so many clicks needed on the car or overnight stays at hotels to fulfil agendas.
Not just challenging in a geographical sense, the proposed Bow River riding would offer a daunting mandate for a potential MP from a logistical perspective considering the large number of municipal councils and other organizations which would be included inside the riding’s boundaries. There is also the fear that such a heady responsibility in covering the proposed Bow River constituency will scare off some candidates.
Those logistics from a personally-selfish partisan politics standpoint could theoretically be a boon to the Taber area given that Taber is the third largest area, at just over 8,000 people, not counting nearby M.D. residents in the proposed Bow River Constituency. Brooks is the second largest, at just over 10,000 people, and is just a stone’s throw away in an under-hour drive.
The chances that an MP candidate in close proximity to the area goes up exponentially with those types of numbers to draw from.
And if the recent American presidential election has taught us anything, the key to re-election is making those areas happy that carry the most clout in the numbers to your re-election.
But from a pure utopian standpoint, is it not partisan politics that have made us disillusioned in politics in the first place?
Regardless if the new proposed Bow River boundary has the energy and agriculture focus that the M.D. craves as noted by the AEBC, that focus could certainly lead itself to be fragmented into the concentrated areas of voters over such a vast geographical area.
Just because you live in one of the more outlying areas from an MP’s base, does not mean your concerns are any less legitimate.
In the end, it looks like on the surface, any perceived benefits of the proposed Bow River constituency is far outweighed by the negatives.
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