The removal of the Maskwacis town site from the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency is the only boundary change proposed in the final report released Oct. 19, but MLA Ron Orr thinks less of the more significant proposed recommendations. Image: Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission

Few changes to Ron Orr’s electoral boundary

The Lacombe-Ponoka MLA is more concerned about proposed changes to other ridings

A rather small change is not making as many waves for Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr as a few other proposals are.

Recommendations suggested in the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission final report released Oct. 19 shows Orr with a similar boundary.

While the report tweaks Orr’s riding — shrinking it slightly be moving the Maskwacis town site into the same riding as the rest of the First Nations area — that isn’t what has him scratching his head.

“My riding was left relatively intact, just a few minor adjustments and on the positive side they recommend putting all of Maskwacis into one riding now,” Orr said.

What bothers him is the commission’s recommendation to consolidate rural ridings in several regions that may well reduce voter representation for those areas.

“The commission seems to have overly emphasized the factor of populations while disregarding several other required factors,” he stated.

Orr refers to the recommendations made that would see both Edmonton and Calgary receive a new riding each and a new riding of Airdrie-Cochrane created, while rural regions in the province’s northeast, east central and southeast would see them redistributed to eliminate three ridings. This is so the commission could meet its mandate of holding the number of ridings at the current level of 87.

Among the factors Orr believes the commission either overlooked or gave too much weight include maintaining common community interests and organizations within borders, existing municipal boundaries, geographical features such as road systems and the number of municipalities or jurisdictions in a riding.

“It appears that the less populated rural areas were cobbled together into very large territories that do not really consider those factors,” Orr said.

However, that being said, the rural area ridings that are being consolidated are presently all held by opposition United Conservative Party members and many urban ridings are the stomping grounds of NDP MLAs, which may well play into the argument against the recommendations.

The commission, for its part, referred to a 1991 Supreme Court of Canada decision called the Saskatchewan Reference, which explains issues of voter parity.

“The problems of representing vast, sparsely populated territories, for example, may dictate somewhat lower voter populations in these districts. To insist on voter parity, might deprive citizens with distinct interests of an effective voice in the legislative process as well as of effective assistance from their representatives in their ‘ombudsman’ role,” stated Justice Beverley McLachlin in the case. She is now Canada’s Chief Justice.

With the Alberta legislature back in session Oct. 30, MLAs will have the opportunity to debate and vote on the proposed changes before the session ends on Dec. 7.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr

Just Posted

Ponoka County wants more information prior to approving permit

Council not satisfied, wants better details about work site and other issues

Ponoka County, Rimbey approve recreation deal

Agreement worked out as part of ICF negotiations

Ponoka wilderness survivalist takes on ‘Alone: The Beast’

Show premieres Feb. 13, episode featuring Edwards airs Feb. 20

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Canada’s flag was flown for first time 55 years ago today

The flag is used to celebrate wins in sports, honour Canada Day, and flown at half-mast after tragedy

No shirts, no city services: Firefighter calendar too steamy for Ontario officials

The city has never funded the calendars, but has OK’d photoshoots at city-owned properties

CFL teams under the microscope after free agency begins

While some big names remain, here’s what lies ahead leading up to next month’s CFL combine in Toronto

Most Read