Earlier this year I submitted a series of recommendations to Alberta’s Electoral Boundaries Commission, the appointed body tasked with redrawing Alberta’s provincial electoral districts for the next election. The Commission released an interim report in May 2017 and will be holding a series of public hearings in communities across Alberta in the coming weeks. The Commission will submit its final report on October 31, 2017.
Here are the recommendations I submitted to the commission on July 16, 2017 in response to the interim report:
My name is David Cournoyer, I am a voter living in the Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood constituency. I have followed the electoral boundary redistribution process for a number of years and am very interested in the process.
Proposed Alberta boundaries
I would like to thank the Commissioners for their work in this important process. The act of redistributing electoral boundaries is a challenging process and not one that should be taken lightly. In particular, this Commission faces the challenge of redistributing Alberta’s electoral boundaries without having the advantage of increasing the number of districts.
I have included below my recommendations in response to the interim report released by the Commission in May 2017:
I believe this Commission can improve the population balance proposed in the interim report. The previous Commission did a good job keeping the population of most electoral districts within ten percent of the provincial average population per electoral district.
I recommend that the Commission attempt to keep districts within ten percent, and ideally within five percent, above or below the provincial average population per electoral district.
I recommend the Commission consider the following amendments to the proposed districts included in the interim report:
Proposed Edmonton boundaries
Edmonton-East, Edmonton-North West, Edmonton-South, Edmonton-South West and Edmonton-West Henday: The Commission should reconsider using these geographic directional names for proposed districts, as they could cause confusion among voters. The names of the proposed districts are not necessarily reflective of their geographical areas. For example: The proposed Edmonton-East district is located west of the Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview and Edmonton-Manning districts and much of Edmonton-Northwest is located south of Edmonton-Castle Downs and east of Edmonton-West Henday.
Edmonton-Mill Woods-East and Edmonton-Mill Woods-West: I believe the names in these proposed districts may cause some unnecessary confusion among voters. I recommend the names of these proposed districts be changed.
Fort Saskatchewan-St. Paul, Vermilion-Lloydminster, and Stettler-Wainwright: These proposed district span from the Edmonton Metro area to the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary, with the first two resembling a shelter-belt rather than a constituency representing communities of common interest. The Commission should consider redistributing the proposed districts in a way that would not divide communities along such oddly drawn east-west boundaries.
Highwood: It should be noted that under this proposed district, the Highwood River is no longer located within the Highwood constituency, for which I believe it may be named.
St. Albert-Redwater: The population of the City of St. Albert is too large to warrant the creation of two districts within the municipal boundaries. Instead of expanding a second St. Albert district north to Redwater, Smoky Lake, Buffalo Lake and Kikino, I recommend the creation of a district that would include St. Albert and the municipalities of Sturgeon County, Morinville, Legal, Cardiff, Bon Accord and Gibbons.
St. Anne-Stony Plain: I expect this has already been brought to the attention of the Commission, but the correct spelling is Ste. Anne, in reference to Lac Ste. Anne. It is my recommendation that the name of the proposed district, if it remains in the final report of the Commission, be renamed Lac Ste. Anne-Stony Plain.
Wetaskiwin-Camrose: I commend the Commission for their decision in the interim report to recommend the creation of a fully contiguous proposed district of Wetaskiwin-Camrose.
Thank you to the Commissioners for the opportunity to respond to the interim report. I wish you good luck in months ahead as you consider the feedback you have received in order to create the final report of this electoral boundary review.