Bill splitting Shelburne County unchanged by government

Greg Bennett
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MLA will be allowed to vote with opposition parties

A bill that would split Shelburne County's provincial political boundaries will go ahead unchanged by the government for a vote early next week.

Shelburne MLA Sterling Belliveau will be voting against his party when a bill on provincial electoral boundaries comes to the legislature next week.

The NDP government is accepting the final report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission without changes.

That bill, among other things, will split the provincial political boundaries of Shelburne County in two at the Clyde River.

Barrington and the rest of the western part of the county will be added to the formerly protected Acadian riding of Argyle while the rest of Shelburne County east of the Clyde will amalgamate with Queens County to form a new Queens-Shelburne constituency.

Belliveau says the bill will come to a vote in the Legislature on Monday. He is the only NDP MLA that will be permitted by the premier to vote against it.

He said the county was blindsided by the Electoral Boundaries Commission recommendation and called the process flawed.

Political and community leaders from across the county have also panned the bill. Many are concerned about the affect the split will have on political representation for the county.

In its interim report, the commission had recommended splitting the Yarmouth riding in two. After two meetings in Yarmouth and hundreds of people campaigning against the move, the final report called for no changes to the Yarmouth riding.

Earlier this month, in a historic move, the law amendments committee held meetings in Shelburne County to allow local people an opportunity to have input on the bill.

During those hearings, dozens of people expressed their concerns with the proposed political split. Throughout the two days of hearings the overall message was clear …toss the current proposal and hold the status quo. Many had pointed out the differences in language, culture and industry between the neighboring ridings.

With a split now almost guaranteed, Belliveau says he will talk with his family, NDP party members and constituents about his political future.




Organizations: Electoral Boundaries Commission

Geographic location: Shelburne County, Yarmouth, Clyde River Queens

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