Alberta electoral boundary changes need changes

Current proposal sees Drayton Valley-Devon severed, one rural constituency eliminated

In May of this year the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission released an interim report proposing boundary changes to many constituencies within our province.

Every five years Canada conducts a census and the statistics collected prompt the government to form an Electoral Boundary Commission. The purpose of the commission is to tour the province, take submissions from across the province and determine if existing boundaries require adjustment. The importance for doing this is to create constituencies with relatively the same population so there can be proper representation and vote count can be weighted similar to everywhere else throughout the province.

The outcome of the interim report proposes the Drayton Valley-Devon constituency to be broken up! The proposal is to move Drayton Valley into the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre riding, creating new constituency “Drayton Valley-Rocky Mountain House”. Devon would become part of west Edmonton to create “Devon-Parkland”.

This makes no sense! By going forward with this potential boundary change, the new constituency of Rocky Mountain House would have a 17 per cent greater population than the provincial average for ridings, plus would eliminate one rural seat. However if Drayton Valley were to stay in the Devon-Parkland constituency, then both constituencies would be about 5 per cent above the population threshold. A minority report within the commission’s interim report points out numerous problems arising from this boundary change. When trying to determine boundary changes, the commission must consider not only population but also economic trading patterns within the region as well.

There is another round of consultation in which municipalities and citizens can respond to the report prior to a final decision being made. Presently the municipalities in Drayton Valley-Devon are putting together both written and oral submissions to the Electoral Boundaries Commission, asking them to put Drayton Valley into the Devon-Parkland riding. I will also be giving an oral submission asking the same. For more information please check out http://abebc.ca/interim-report-maps/. I encourage you to voice your opinion and make a submission to move Drayton Valley into Devon-Parkland.

My door is always open and I’m available to assist with any concerns.

Mark Smith is the Wildrose MLA for the Drayton Valley-Devon constituency, including much of the County of Wetaskiwin. He can be reached by phone 780-542-3355 toll free 1-800-542-7307, Drayton Valley – Devon constituency office Box 7272 Drayton Valley, AB, T7A 1S5, email draytonvalley.devon@assembly.ab.ca.