Report of the Federal Electoral Boundaries
|Chairman:||Mr. Justice Guy J. Kroft
Justice of the Court of Appeal of Manitoba
|Deputy Chairman:||Mr. Raymond M. Hébert|
|Member:||Ms. Caterina M. (Bueti) Sotiriadis|
The Commission was established by proclamation dated April 16, 2002.
Pursuant to section 13 of the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer presented
the Chairman of the Commission the return of the Chief Statistician of
Canada and, in particular, the population of the Province of Manitoba,
which was stated to be
As required by section 14 of the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer advised
the Chairman of the Manitoba Commission that fourteen (14) members in
the House of Commons would continue to be assigned to this province. The
electoral quota was then calculated to be
The Commission, on the basis of the information submitted above, proceeded to divide the province into fourteen (14) electoral districts pursuant to the directions contained in the Act.
In accordance with subsection 19(2) of the Act, a notice was duly published in the Canada Gazette on August 10, 2002, in five daily newspapers on August 8th, 10th and 11th, and in weeklies throughout the province in early September, giving notice of the places and times fixed for the hearing of representations from interested persons. As part of that notice were the recommendations of the Commission, comprising the names of the electoral districts and the maps illustrating their boundaries. Also published was a statement that all representations were required to be lodged with the secretary of the Commission within fifty-three (53) days of the date of the last publication of the notice.
The Commission sat for the hearing of representations as follows:
October 10, 2002, Winnipeg, at 7 p.m.;
October 15, 2002, Portage la Prairie, at 10 a.m.;
October 15, 2002, Brandon, at 3 p.m.;
October 17, 2002, Steinbach, at 10 a.m.; and
October 22, 2002, Winnipeg, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Following the publication of the Commission’s preliminary recommendations, a number of oral and written submissions were delivered to us. Between October 10, 2002, and October 22, 2002, six public hearings were conducted. Then, as provided by the notice, several further written submissions were received on or prior to November 1, 2002.
Following the hearings and receipt of all representations, further consideration was given to the proposed boundaries. Several submissions were highly favourable to the new electoral map in general and to the low variance principle adopted by this Commission. Others recommended specific changes. Some were minor and easily accommodated. Other suggestions required compromise or could not be accommodated without abandoning the voter equality principle (see the following table).
|River Heights–Fort Garry||77,839||–2.66%|
In the rural and northern electoral districts, the most significant changes affect the Churchill, Provencher, and Selkirk–Interlake electoral districts. Because of its immense size and sparsity of settlement, Churchill has always posed a difficult challenge. In balancing the voter equality and community of interest principles, we had initially proposed that the northwestern portion of the existing Selkirk–Interlake electoral district should be integrated into the Churchill electoral district, while the southeastern portion of the existing Churchill electoral district, excluding the Fort Alexander Indian Reserve, should be returned to the Provencher and Selkirk–Interlake electoral districts, where it was prior to the 1996 Representation Order.
In the course of our consultation process, we received strong representations from the Churchill Member of Parliament, as well as from the Southern Chiefs’ Organization against the transfer of the northwestern portion of the existing Selkirk–Interlake electoral district to Churchill. This area includes several First Nations communities. We received no other submissions criticizing the foregoing proposal, but did get indications of strong approval. At the same time, we received indications of strong approval for the changes proposed on the southeastern Churchill boundary (that is, between the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg and the Ontario boundary). The combined effect of the transfer of most of the southeastern portion of the existing Churchill electoral district to Provencher and Selkirk–Interlake and a return to the existing Churchill boundary in the Interlake region would have negative implications for the voter equality principle. However, in our initial Proposals, we acknowledged that community of interest and community of identity can be interpreted in different ways. We therefore welcomed submissions that might assign greater weight to certain factors than we had done.
We carefully studied the arguments presented in favour of a return to the previous Churchill electoral boundaries in the Interlake area, and particularly the geographic separation of the south-central portion of the new Churchill electoral district and its north-south linkages. The Member of Parliament for Churchill pointed out the transportation difficulties involved in serving this area from a northern constituency office. Notwithstanding the validity of her concern, it must be recognized that modern communication technology has substantially alleviated this problem. Furthermore, other Manitoba members representing large electoral districts have opened constituency sub-offices to serve remote areas. Finally, the south-central portion of Churchill is accessible from Winnipeg, through which all MPs must travel on their way back and forth to Ottawa.
In the end we tried to find a compromise that would address the competing arguments. We have modified our initial proposal. However, in recognition that the arguments presented had some validity, we have modified our initial proposal to the extent that the First Nations communities of Fisher River, Jackhead, and Peguis, and the northern Interlake region including Matheson Island and Pine Dock, are returned to the Selkirk–Interlake electoral district. However, in order to respect our 5 percent variance guideline, this necessitated the transfer of a small portion along the southern boundary of Selkirk–Interlake, i.e. the Rural Municipality of St. François Xavier, to the Portage–Lisgar electoral district.
Voter equality, we believe, must remain the overriding principle in the drawing of the new federal electoral boundaries for Manitoba, and our proposed boundaries as regards the Churchill and Selkirk–Interlake electoral districts continue to meet this challenge.
In the Provencher electoral district, which is one of only three rural electoral districts to show any growth, the major changes proposed in our Proposals involved the transfer of the communities of Pine Falls, Powerview, St. Georges, Bird River and Great Falls from the former Churchill electoral district into Provencher. This was strongly supported by residents of the communities concerned. However, in order to ensure voter equality, and keep variances within a range of approximately ±5 percent, our initial proposal provided for a shift of the Rural Municipality of Rhineland into the neighbouring electoral district of Portage–Lisgar. That electoral district has had limited growth, but its southern communities have much in common with Rhineland. Although the submissions we received from the Member for Provencher and some municipal representatives opposed this change, we believe that geography and transportation are much less of a factor than they are in the changes we are recommending in Churchill; hence we are maintaining our initial proposal in this case.
Other changes to our initial Proposals are relatively minor. Although there were a few submissions regarding city constituencies, they were, for the most part, not persuasive and the urban electoral districts remain virtually unchanged.
The attached Schedule shows the result of the modifications of the original Proposals that have been agreed upon and given effect by this report. In the final analysis, we have been able to remain consistent to our original goal of assuring one vote for one person subject to variances of approximately ±5 percent.