New provincial ridings proposed
The newly proposed Camrose riding would now cut off at the county border west of town and extend east to Hardisty, north of Tofield and south to Alliance, and will grow from its current size. The proposed riding is home to 44,082 people. The new constituency ridings will be voted on during the fall session of the Legislature which ends on Dec. 15. Supplied
If proposed new electoral boundaries go through, Camrose will have a new MLA.
The recently proposed new ridings would drastically change the current layout of the 87 ridings throughout the province, most notably eliminating two rural ridings and transferring them to Calgary and Edmonton. The review was completed by Alberta’s Electoral Boundaries Commission, an independent body established under Alberta legislation.
Locally, the Camrose riding would now cut off at the county border west of town and extend east to Hardisty, north of Tofield and south to Alliance, and will grow from its current size. Wetaskiwin would be part of the Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin riding and extend north to Looma and the edge of Leduc, west to Pigeon Lake and south to the southern edge of Maskwacis. Current Camrose-Wetaskiwin MLA Bruce Hinkley says his riding would increase in size by staying in the Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin riding.
“The area becomes much bigger than what Wetaskiwin-Camrose used to be,” said Hinkley. “It’s not a bad thing for Camrose, because I think a lot of those towns use Camrose as the trading centre, and I think the provincial constituency will include more of the County of Camrose.
“The disappointment for me is I liked representing Camrose.”
Subtracting two constituencies in rural Alberta does make the division between rural and urban representation even greater than before with 46 ridings now split between Edmonton and Calgary and 41 for the rest of the province.
The commission was trying to stick to an average size of 46,332 people in each riding, plus or minus a few percentage points. The biggest discrepancies came in the more remote ridings of the newly-named Central Peace-Notely riding which is at 28,993 and Lesser Slave Lake at 27,818. The proposed Camrose riding would have a population of 44,082 while Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin would be at 43,798. Cold Lake-St. Paul would be the largest population wise at 53,809, with Red Deer South at 52,743.
“If your definition of democracy is one person, one vote then that is how it should be,” said Hinkley. “Unfortunately for rural areas they’re going to have fewer MLAs. However, in Alberta we have always allowed for some variance so the constituencies didn’t get too big. I have often admired … (Battle River Crowfoot MP) Kevin Sorenson because of the huge area his federal constituency covers. If the area becomes big, it does become more difficult for the MLA to cover.”
These proposals will be discussed during the fall sitting of the Legislature and will be voted on before Dec. 15. This is to ensure the chief electoral official has adequate time to ensure everything is organized for the next election in 2019.