Nov. 21, 2005
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Under a new electoral map being proposed by the independent Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission, two new electoral districts will be created, and two current districts will be eliminated.
In response to shifts in population, the commission proposes adding electoral districts in the Fredericton and Dieppe-Moncton areas, and eliminating one in each of the southwest and northern regions.
The commission, which was selected by the all-party Legislative Administration Committee, is mandated to redraw the province's electoral boundaries to ensure that the population is more evenly distributed among the 55 electoral districts. The population of a district cannot be 10 per cent above or below the average of 13,263 (electoral quotient), according to the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Act.
"We received valuable input from New Brunswickers during our first round of public hearings," commission co-chair Justice Margaret Larlee said. "We have tried to address their concerns, particularly in ensuring effective representation in the rural areas."
She pointed out that the commission's proposals would see rural districts below the electoral quotient to account for the bigger geographical areas their members of the legislative assembly must cover, while urban districts will be above.
"The report will serve as a good point for discussion for the next round of public hearings," commission co-chair Justice Brigitte Robichaud said. "We are looking forward to hearing from New Brunswickers when we do our second round of public hearings in January."
A schedule has been set, but the dates may be rescheduled in the event of inclement weather.
Major changes being proposed by the commission would see a new electoral district added to the central region in the Fredericton area.
In the southeast region, the commission is proposing a new electoral district named Codiac, which will be made up of parts of the city of Dieppe, parts of the current Moncton East district, and areas of the Moncton Crescent district.
Under the proposals, the electoral district of Fundy Isles in southwest New Brunswick, with a population of only 4,845 (63 per cent below the electoral quotient), will be absorbed into two existing electoral districts.
In the north, the commission is proposing that the electoral district of Restigouche West be split between the northwest and northeast regions, and a new electoral district called Madawaska-Restigouche be created. The current electoral district of Restigouche West would no longer exist.
Communities in the Acadian Peninsula and the Miramichi will see their electoral boundaries shift under the commission's proposals, but they will not lose an electoral district.
The electoral district of Tantramar is the only area where the commission applied the "extraordinary circumstances" clause of the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Act. After considering a number of options, the commission deemed that none would provide effective representation of the English and French linguistic communities. As a result, Tantramar will remain 19.9 per cent below the provincial electoral quotient.
The complete report can be viewed on the commission's website at http://www.gnb.ca, keyword: Electoral boundaries.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Following is the schedule for the second round of public hearings for the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission. MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Kilfoil, Communications New Brunswick, 506-444-5070, 506-470-3178 (cell).
Public Hearings Schedule