Aug. 25, 2005
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission will hold public hearings throughout New Brunswick in October to seek input on changes to riding boundaries.
The commissioners will visit communities throughout the province on the tour.
"We are looking forward to visiting different communities in order to learn New Brunswickers' perspectives and concerns regarding the province's current electoral boundaries," co-chair Justice Margaret Larlee said. "Their input is absolutely essential to our work."
The commission held its first meeting in Fredericton on Aug. 24-25. Co-chair Justice Brigitte Robichaud said the group discussed a variety of issues and examined a range of procedures that will be relevant to its task of redrawing the province's electoral boundaries.
"Our first session was very productive and informative," Robichaud said. "We made some initial plans that will assist us in our efforts to restore balance to New Brunswick's electoral ridings. Once we're finished getting organized, we intend to make headway."
The mandate of the EBRC is to redraw the boundaries of New Brunswick's 55 electoral ridings before the next general provincial election. The new boundaries must reflect population shifts that have occurred in the province since 1991, when the boundary lines were last redrawn.
As the commission changes the province's electoral boundaries, it will ensure that the number of ridings does not exceed 55, Robichaud said. It will also ensure that the population of each new riding will be roughly proportional to those of the other ridings, while balancing all relevant criteria set out in the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Act. The commission was established by the act, which became law in June 2005.
The commission will soon be establishing a website to keep New Brunswickers informed of their progress, Larlee said.
Following the tour, the seven commissioners will compile a preliminary report on electoral boundaries. The report is expected to be submitted to the provincial legislature by Nov. 20.
Details on the tour will be released in the coming weeks.
MEDIA CONTACT: Tim Porter, Communications New Brunswick, 506-444-2548.