By Greg Bennett
The Coast Guard
Although some local municipal councils are looking for a pledge from Nova Scotia’s opposition leaders that they would turn back changes to Shelburne County’s electoral boundaries, there appear to be few takers.
The Coast Guard contacted representatives of both parties for comment on the issue. Liberal leader Stephen McNeil did not return an answer by press time but was expected to provide an answer by the end of the week.
Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie did reply but made no promises on the issue other than to not interfere with the work of the electoral boundaries commission.
“I share the concerns of the people of Shelburne County, who are outraged by the political interference of one, majority party, in the independent process to redraw electoral boundaries. I am disheartened by the turmoil your community has been put through during this process but I believe any politician who promises to redraw the lines him or herself, is committing the same sin the NDP did,” wrote Baillie. “I believe that someone who wants to be premier needs to be honest about this and other issues.
Baillie’s only commitment was that a PC government would restore the power of a “truly independent boundary commission, which must work with the people to determine fair representation. I respect and honour the independence of the commission and believe they will make the right decisions in the future.”
In December a bill splitting Shelburne County’s provincial political boundaries passed the third and final reading in the legislature by a 26-22 vote.
As a result, 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.