Sault Ste. Marie MP Bryan Hayes tabled a submission to the chair of the 2012 Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario to be noted at a public hearing in the Sault today.
Hayes supports keeping the electoral boundaries of Sault Ste. Marie unchanged, as originally recommended by the commission.
A news release issued by it earlier this month stated:
"In August, the commission published its proposal for a new electoral map for discussion at hearings this fall. Public feedback has led the commission to consider significant changes to the district of Sault Ste. Marie, which was to remain unchanged in its original proposal.
"The commission is considering removing the following communities from the district of Sault Ste. Marie and adding them to the electoral district of Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing (formerly proposed as Algoma-Manitoulin-Killarney):
- the geographic Township of Aberdeen
- the townships of MacDonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additional; Laird; Tarbutt and Tarbutt Additional; Johnson; Plummer Additional; St. Joseph; Hilton; and Jocelyn
- the Town of Bruce Mines
- the Village of Hilton Beach"
Following is what Hayes wrote in his letter to Mr. Justice George Valin, chair of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario :
Dear Mr. Chair,
Thank you for the opportunity to submit to the Commission on its revised proposal for new electoral boundaries for the riding of Sault Ste. Marie. The Commission’s original recommendation was to leave the boundaries of this riding unchanged, and I fully supported that recommendation.
For the record, I strongly object to the Commission’s revised proposal for the Sault Ste. Marie electoral district, that being, to remove the following communities from the district of Sault Ste. Marie and adding them to the electoral district of Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing (formerly proposed as Algoma-Manitoulin-Killarney): the geographic Township of Aberdeen; the townships of MacDonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additional; Laird; Tarbutt and Tarbutt Additional; Johnson; Plummer Additional; St. Joseph; Hilton; and Jocelyn; the Town of Bruce Mines; the Village of Hilton.
The strongest argument in favour of maintaining the boundary unchanged relates to the commission`s main goal of setting boundaries so that each electoral district contains roughly the same number of people. The population of Sault Ste. Marie does not warrant changes. A population of 89,028 is already well below the provincial quotient. Further removing territory from this riding would make it even more askew with the provincial standard. Changes to Sault Ste. Marie would not allow the Commission to meet its own main goal.
With respect to the Commission`s secondary goal of taking into account communities of interest or identity, the outlying areas in question are economically attached to Sault Ste. Marie – commuters, shopping, groceries. The constituents of my existing riding, are well-served under the existing boundaries.
As the Commission meets its goal of insuring a manageable geographic size for districts in sparsely populated regions, I assure the commission that I, as the Member of Parliament, have effectively negotiated the rural/urban dynamic by hosting town hall meetings in rural communities and attending community events. Additionally, The Elliot Lake and/or Kapuskasing riding offices, should the boundary be changed, would not be accessible to the constituents of St. Joseph Island and Bruce Mines. The Sault Ste. Marie office is very accessible.
In closing, having spoken with many constituents, coupled with my experience as the Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, I am of the firm belief that my riding would prefer to remain unchanged when it comes to their federal electoral district boundaries. I therefore object to any change and believe it is unnecessary at this time.
Bryan Hayes, MP - Sault Ste. Marie