Alberta Politics

A quick look at the Interim Report of Alberta’s Electoral Boundaries Commission

The Interim Report of Alberta’s Electoral Boundaries Commission was released yesterday.

Proposed Alberta boundaries

I plan to take a more in-depth look at the interim report in the coming days, and plan to write more about it, but I do have a few quick observations after taking a first glance at the recommendations.

It is important to recognize that any group tasked with redrawing electoral boundaries will be faced with a number of significant challenges. Now that an interim map has been released, I expect the commission will receive a significant amount of feedback from Albertans about these recommended boundaries.

Overall I think the interim report is probably a decent place to start the next phase of the boundary redistribution process, which will include another round of public hearings across the province. A final report will be released in October 2017.

With no mandate to increase the total number of electoral districts in Alberta, currently at 87, the commission must make difficult decisions about where redraw the boundaries in order to reflect population growth and decline in Alberta. Dividing the province’s population of 4,062,609 by the 87 electoral divisions establishes an average population per electoral division of 46,697.

Proposed Calgary boundaries

It is an actual balancing act.

Proposed in the interim report, Calgary, Edmonton and Airdrie were distributed one new district each to reflect population growth in those urban areas. Three districts were redistributed out of northwest, west central and east central rural areas to reflect lower population growth or, in some cases, a decline in population.

There are some odd recommendations for both boundaries and boundary names, which are probably inevitable for an interim report. Naming one new district Calgary-Airport was certainly a unique choice, but it does provide an accurate description of what is included in the district.

Proposed Edmonton boundaries

Some of the new boundaries will prove to be problematic, especially in the geographically large rural districts like the proposed Fort Saskatchewan-St. Paul, Drumheller-Strathmore or Taber-Vulcan. The creation of large rural districts is unavoidable in order to balance a district’s populations with the provincial average.

As I already noted, I plan to take a more in-depth look at the interim report in the coming days, and plan to write more about it.

4 replies on “A quick look at the Interim Report of Alberta’s Electoral Boundaries Commission”

Not liking this very much, us folks on the west side of 781 south of Sylvan have no afiliation with the rest of this proposed riding. West border of Sylvan Innisfail should be further west. Would not change the numbers significantly. They used 781 south of Sylvan as border why?

Like the explicit recognition of First Nations in the names of ridings but not certain if Banff-Stoney will fly given that the riding also includes the Tsuu T’ina Nation which is linguistically and culturally distinct from the Stoney people. Using a traditional name for the Bow river from any languages spoken by Treaty 7 first nations might be a better tact to take. (Niitsitapi/Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina, or Nakota)

Above all, I am highly disappointed at the proof that the urban authors of the document are highly ignorant of anything rural in their own province. It’s Ste. Anne-Stony Plain, no St. Anne-Stony Plain; utter blatant disrespect.

It seems looking at the big picture, they have generally got the boundaries right. More ridings in the faster growing urban areas and increasing the size of ridings in rural areas where the population is lower.

I suppose the whole idea of this exercise is now to get input from those across the province to fine tune things like names, and whether a boundary should be on this road or a river a few miles away. These are the things the locals can provide good input into, as those designing the map may not have been aware of or understand all the local nuances across the province.

Lets not crucify them if they didn’t get some detail perfect on the initial draft, but lets use the process as intended to provide feedback and improve things.

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