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Readjustment of Electoral Boundaries:
Caribbean Nations Seek to Learn from Canada's Experience

OTTAWA, Thursday, October 28, 2010 — Fifteen representatives from Caribbean nations will meet in Ottawa on October 28 and 29 to learn how Canada redraws its electoral maps every 10 years to account for population shifts and growth. Co-hosted by Elections Canada and the Organization of American States, the event is timely as Elections Canada is preparing for the next redistribution process to begin upon receipt of the 2011 census data.

"This exercise is an opportunity to engage citizens in the electoral process," said Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Marc Mayrand to electoral experts from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. "If people understand how boundaries are readjusted and can provide input into where these boundaries will lie, they are more likely to carry that involvement into the electoral process."

Federal legislation requires that the number of seats in the House of Commons, and the allocation of those seats to each province, be reconsidered after each 10-year census. The last redistribution process was initiated in 2001, and new boundaries came into effect three years later.

While Elections Canada places great emphasis on ensuring that the public understands the redistribution process and its right to participate in that process, the agency itself has no say in how the electoral maps are redrawn. Readjustment of federal electoral boundaries in Canada is an independent process carried out by independent commissions.

Canada's model is appealing to other nations because of its independent nature. "My neutrality as an electoral administrator is maintained. Commission members are the ones tasked with achieving effective representation," said Mr. Mayrand.

For more information about the readjustment of electoral boundaries, visit the Elections Canada Web site at www.elections.ca.

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Elections Canada is an independent body set up by Parliament.

Information:
Elections Canada Media Relations
1-877-877-9515
or at www.elections.ca