Hayes loses appeal - his riding will shrinkTuesday, October 01, 2013 by: SooToday.com Staff
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario has rejected Sault MP Bryan Hayes' appeal to keep the Sault Ste. Marie Federal Electoral District ("riding" is the more commonly used reference) as it is.
As a result, in 2015 voters east of the city will become part of the Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing riding currently held by New Democrat Carol Hughes.
“The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission’s rejection of the objection of affected constituents is a huge disappointment," says Hayes, a Conservative, in a news release issued today. "This change will impact the communities east of Sault Ste. Marie who I currently have the pleasure of effectively serving. That communities such as St. Joseph Island, Bruce Mines, and Echo Bay will have to travel more than 150 km to visit their MP’s office in Elliot Lake will not only prove highly inconvenient, it will also be frustrating considering my office remains a quick 30-minute drive away.”
In the fall of 2012, a handful of constituents attended a Sault public hearing arranged by the Commission "to engage citizens in a discussion on possible changes to the boundaries of federal electoral districts in the area."
Every 10 years, after the census is conducted, the number of electoral districts and their boundaries are revised to reflect population shifts and growth, notes Hayes.
Redistribution of the federal electoral districts is a key democratic exercise and allows for changes and movements in Canada's population to be reflected in House of Commons representation.
The House of Commons will see 30 new seats added by the 2015 election.
In its final report, published yesterday, the Ontario Federal Electoral Commission, states: “Mr. Hayes wished to maintain the status quo for his electoral district and advocated that the Commission invoke the extraordinary circumstances provision of the Act to address the deficient population that would result in the adjacent electoral district of Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing.”
The report notes that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) supported this objection and recommended that the Sault Ste. Marie riding boundaries remain the same.
Said Hayes: “I find it deeply disturbing that PROC supported my objection, yet the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission proceeded to overturn their recommendation.”
The final report gives the reasons for disregarding the recommendations and endorsing the boundary change.
“The Commission stated above its position that it would not be appropriate and, indeed, that there is no need to invoke the extraordinary circumstances provision set out in the Act for any northern electoral district other than Kenora. The Commission also notes that arguments based on community of interest and historical pattern do not favour the position Mr. Hayes advanced. Rather, they support the Commission’s decision to assign those communities to the electoral district of Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing. Prior to the 2003 representation order, all the affected communities were assigned to the electoral district of Algoma-Manitoulin. That large, substantially rural electoral district surrounded the electoral district of Sault Ste. Marie, and included most of the communities along Highway 17 and the coast of Georgian Bay, currently assigned to the electoral district of Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing.
“The Commission therefore rejects the objection, and retains the boundaries of the electoral district of Sault Ste. Marie as set out in its Report.”
“I would like to thank the affected communities for their support and let those constituents know that I will continue to be available to them until the changes come into effect in 2015,” said Hayes in his release. “Following the 2015 election, their federal representative will be the Member for the Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing riding. My office, however, is available to serve and my staff and I will continue to serve Northern Ontario to the best of our ability.”