Proposed Boundary Revisions:
Overview and Explanations
The addition of two new seats together with the shift
in population to urban centres have led the Commission to recommend major
changes in the distribution of Alberta’s electoral districts. In
so doing, the Commission has been very mindful of constitutional and statutory
requirements. The Commission has not identified any extraordinary circumstances
that would justify departing from the normal 25 percent deviation limit.
In no case is the population of any proposed electoral district more than
25 percent above or more than 25 percent below the electoral quota of
106,243. The largest electoral district recommended by the Commission
has a 2001 decennial census population of 121,957, or 14.79 percent above
the electoral quota; the smallest has a population of 88,544, or 16.67
percent below the electoral quota. The population of most of the proposed
electoral districts is close to the province’s electoral quota:
82 percent are within 10 percent, 50 percent are within 5 percent, and
25 percent are within 2 percent. In drawing the proposed boundaries, moreover,
the Commission has attempted to take into account information regarding
areas of growth and recent development that are not reflected in the 2001
The 2001 census data shows that there has been rapid population growth
in the two large urban centres of Calgary and Edmonton, although the patterns
differ somewhat. The Commission is of the view that it is important to
provide for effective representation for voters in these large urban areas.
The City of Calgary (“Calgary”) has grown rapidly within its
municipal boundaries and the Commission recommends that one of the new
seats in Alberta go to Calgary, which will bring its total to eight. The
City of Edmonton’s (“Edmonton”) population has also
grown, but the surrounding urban population has increased even more. The
Commission proposes that in order to adequately reflect the urban voter
in Edmonton and its environs, the region be reconfigured into eight electoral
districts. The Commission believes that the recommended changes will not
only meet the representational needs of Calgary and the Edmonton region,
but also restore the historical equality of representation between the
two. In addition, the Commission recommends that a new electoral district
of Red Deer be established in the increasingly populated corridor between
Edmonton and Calgary. The remainder of the province will have 11 seats,
some of which have undergone boundary changes.
City of Calgary
In 2001, Calgary’s population was 878,866, or 168,071 more than
the 1991 census. Dividing this number by eight would give Calgary’s
electoral districts an average population of 109,858, which is 3.4 percent
above the electoral quota. The Commission proposes to add a new Calgary
electoral district in a way that maintains the city’s traditional
“hub-perimeter” pattern of representation, based on a relatively
stable inner city population and rapidly growing suburbs. Accordingly,
it recommends that two new electoral districts: Calgary North Centre and
Calgary South Centre be created in central Calgary. The former consists
of the northern portion of the current Calgary Centre electoral district,
the southern portion of Calgary–Nose Hill and the western section
of Calgary Northeast. The latter is an amalgam of the southern portion
of the existing Calgary Centre electoral district, the eastern section
of Calgary West and the northern portion of Calgary Southwest. The Commission
also recommends that the electoral district of Calgary East, which has
experienced more modest population growth than other perimeter electoral
districts, be extended southward to include the northern portion of the
Calgary Southeast electoral district. These changes will allow the remaining
electoral districts: Calgary–Nose Hill, Calgary Northeast, Calgary
West, Calgary Southwest, and Calgary Southeast, to accommodate anticipated
The Edmonton Region
Edmonton is surrounded by eight sizable communities, the furthest of
which is about 10 kilometres from the city limits. These are: St. Albert,
Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Devon
and Beaumont. According to the 2001 census, Edmonton’s population
is 666,104; that of the surrounding area is approximately 181,000; therefore,
the combined population of Edmonton and its surrounding area (“the
Edmonton Region”) is approximately 847,104. Dividing this population
by eight seats yields an average electoral district size of 105,888 or
1 percent below the electoral quota.
The Commission notes there has been growing recognition that although
the Edmonton Region encompasses several distinct and historically unique
communities, there are many points of common interest and co-operation
concerning coordination of infrastructure, transportation, health care
and services. These include: the Capital Region Wastewater Commission
(which coordinates wastewater transmission and treatment), the Alberta
Capital Region Alliance (which focuses on developing transportation priorities),
the Edmonton Regional Airport Authority, and the Capital Health Authority
(which provides core health services to the region). A large proportion
of the wage earners in surrounding communities work in Edmonton. Cultural
and recreational facilities are shared and used by members of all communities
within the Edmonton Region, and there is growing co-operation in the area
of economic development.
It is the view of the Commission that in terms of geography and community
interest, the populations of the metropolitan Edmonton area have more
in common with Edmonton than the rural communities beyond them.
With these factors in mind the Commission recommends the following changes
to the Edmonton Region. A portion of the current electoral district of
Edmonton West becomes Edmonton Centre. It incorporates the established
communities in the central area of Edmonton into one electoral district.
The new electoral district of Edmonton North contains portions of the
existing electoral districts of Edmonton Centre-East and Edmonton North.
Both the new Edmonton North and Edmonton Centre contain relatively stable
populations and are not expected to grow dramatically. Edmonton–Strathcona’s
southern boundary is changed to reflect the natural dividing line of Whitemud
Drive. These three electoral districts are bordered by five electoral
districts that extend beyond the municipal boundaries of Edmonton to the
surrounding urban communities. These are: Edmonton–St. Albert, which
includes north Edmonton and St. Albert (population 53,081); Edmonton–Sherwood
Park, which includes the northeastern part of Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan
(population 13,121), and Sherwood Park (population 49,959); Edmonton–Beaumont,
which includes southeast Edmonton and Beaumont (population 7,006); Edmonton–Leduc,
which includes southwest Edmonton, Leduc (population 15,032) and Devon
(population 4,969); and Edmonton–Spruce Grove, which includes west
Edmonton, Spruce Grove (population 15,983) and Stony Plain (population
9,589). The populations of these five greater Edmonton electoral districts
are below or slightly above the electoral quota to allow for anticipated
Rural Electoral Districts
A number of changes are proposed to accommodate the new Edmonton Region
electoral districts and the new Red Deer electoral district. The electoral
district of Yellowhead gains a portion of the existing St. Albert electoral
district and is bounded in the south by the David Thompson Highway. The
proposed electoral district of Westlock–St. Paul incorporates portions
of the existing Athabasca, St. Albert, Elk Island, and Lakeland electoral
districts. The electoral district of Wetaskiwin extends westward to the
North Saskatchewan River and eastward to include sections of the existing
Crowfoot electoral district. The Commission also recommends the establishment
of a new electoral district of Vegreville–Wainwright, bounded in
the west by the Wetaskiwin and the Edmonton Region electoral districts,
and in the south by the proposed new electoral district of Drumheller.
Because of the dramatic population growth in Airdrie, Cochrane and Canmore
the Commission recommends that the existing electoral district, Wild Rose,
be divided into two new electoral districts: Banff–Cochrane and
Drumheller. The Commission proposes that the eastern boundary of Banff–Cochrane
generally follow Highway 2 between Red Deer and Calgary, but deems it
advisable to split some communities along this route between the two electoral
districts in order to achieve a greater measure of numerical equality.
Specifically, Olds and Bowden are in the Drumheller electoral district
whereas the rest of the communities are allocated to Banff–Cochrane.
Although this arrangement should pose no representational difficulties,
the Commission recognizes that there is a commonality of interest among
Highway No. 2 communities that cannot be completely observed.
In northern Alberta the existing Athabasca electoral district is renamed
Athabasca–Fort McMurray, the southern boundary of which is adjusted
to accommodate changes to neighbouring electoral districts and to allow
for anticipated increase in the population of Fort McMurray over the next
decade. Slight changes are proposed to the boundary of the electoral district
of Peace River to include the Woodland Cree 228 Indian Reserve in its
entirety. It is also recommended that the electoral district be renamed
Grande Prairie–Peace River to reflect the two large centres it contains.
The higher variances from the electoral quota in these electoral districts
reflect the geography and population patterns of northern Alberta.
In the south, minor changes are recommended to the electoral district
of Medicine Hat so that it follows the Red Deer River to Drumheller, thence
west and south to the Bow River. The electoral district of Macleod is
adjusted to take account of the expansion of the Calgary city limits.
No changes are proposed to the electoral district of Lethbridge.
Naming of Electoral Districts
According to the Geographical Names Board of Canada the best names for
federal electoral districts are those that immediately give a sense of
the province and if possible the region or part of the province in which
they are located. For this reason, the Commission favours place names.
The names chosen are intended to reflect the core of the electoral district.
Because of the large size of most Alberta electoral districts, the Commission
finds it necessary sometimes to use double names, indicating two of the
main population centres in each electoral district. Exceptions are made
to this general approach for historical reasons for the electoral districts
of Yellowhead, Edmonton–Strathcona and Calgary–Nose Hill.