|MP offers alternate plan for boundary changes|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Katie May|
|Tuesday, 26 February 2013 22:18|
As the federal government prepares to change Canada's federal election boundaries for the first time in 10 years, an Alberta MP has raised the question: Who better to draw riding boundaries than the politicians who represent them?
Conservative Medicine Hat MP LaVar Payne believes he's found a solution to appease southern Alberta residents in light of some discontent over the recently announced federal boundary changes — a solution he presented to a special session of the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs in Lethbridge recently.
"We've lost, through this process, some very vibrant communities and some great people," Payne said. "I've talked with virtually all of the elected officials of those areas and built over the last four years some really great relationships. So what we're trying to do now is to make a tighter-knit community for our riding, which has interest in education, health and business, and certainly (would be) a much more manageable size for the Member of Parliament to be able to represent those constituents."
The boundary changes, tabled in Parliament late last year by a three-member Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission, would add six new ridings and Members of Parliament in Alberta by shuffling current riding boundaries. The new boundaries, based on population, would reconfigure the Lethbridge riding to include the city of Lethbridge and the county of Lethbridge, including Coalhurst, Coaldale and Picture Butte.
The new boundaries would also lump Cardston, Raymond and Magrath in with the Medicine Hat riding, which would stretch north of Medicine Hat, skirting around Lethbridge, south to the Montana border and west nearly to Waterton Lakes National Park. Several communities currently in the Medicine Hat riding, including Brooks and Empress, would instead be part of a new riding, called Bow River, which would also include Taber and Vauxhall. The Blood Reserve and the Piikani Nation reserve would move to the new Foothills riding.
Part of the commission's mandate was to divide ridings based on an approximate population cap of 107,000.
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