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Public consultations set for electoral boundary review this week in Shelburne, Tusket and Saulnierville

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SOUTHWESTERN NS – The Electoral Boundaries Commission will hold public consultations in Shelburne, Tusket and Clare in this week as part of the 15 hearings being held across Nova Scotia to obtain public input regarding provincial electoral boundaries.

The commission will hold a hearing in Shelburne Friday, Sept. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Osprey Arts Centre on Water Street. On Saturday, Sept 8, hearings will be held in Tusket from 10 a.m. to noon at the Père-Maurice LeBlanc theatre in the Par-en-Bas school community centre (4258 Highway 308), and also  from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Clare Veterans’ Centre at 9938 Highway 1, Saulnierville. Simultaneous interpretation services will be available at both the Tusket and Clare hearings.

The last provincial boundary review in 2013 ended up with the former constituency of Shelburne County being split in two and the elimination of dedicated Acadian constituencies, resulting in the formation of the Argyle-Barrington riding, the Queens-Shelburne riding and the Clare-Digby constituency.

Five years later it is still a bone of contention for some Shelburne County residents, including Shelburne resident Roy O’Donnell.

“In my opinion, it’s very important that Shelburne County get its own riding back unless we’re happy with having an MLA from Yarmouth County and an MLA from Queens County representing us,” said O’Donnell. “Not that they have been doing a bad job, but I think we should have an MLA for Shelburne County.”

O’Donnell said if people want change, then they have to attend the hearings. “People have got to turn out. Whether they have something to say or not, they have to turn out,” he said, adding municipal units in the county are also being encouraged to attend. “I think there will be a number of people speak,” said O’Donnell.

There has been a push on social media encouraging people to turn out for the Shelburne session in large numbers.

Argyle-Barrington MLA Chris d’Entremont, who held onto his seat through the last boundary change, said he is not hearing a whole lot from constituents about the upcoming electoral boundary review.

“When they split the riding, I heard a lot of it way back when, but as the years have gone by people don’t really talk about it much,” said d’Entremont. “Once in a while someone will ask about the boundary review. They don’t necessarily have a direction they want it to go. We see Argyle-Barrington has worked relatively well together. There’s not been too much negative. At the same time, I think there are people who just want a Shelburne County MLA.”

On the Acadian side, he said, “they would like to have their own Acadian MLA, but their concern is they want to have their own constituency and not get caught up in the idea of a larger or part of a larger Acadian constituency,” such as combining Argyle and Clare, as has been suggested in the past, said d’Entremont. “Right now, they are represented by an Acadian.”

D’Entremont said he’s not certain what lies ahead but will be attending the meetings.

The electoral boundaries of Nova Scotia are reviewed at least every 10 years by an independent Electoral Boundaries Commission. The previous commission was established in December 2011 and presented its final report in September 2012. The electoral district boundaries came into effect on the dissolution of the House before the 39th provincial general election in October 2013.

Public Consultations

The Electoral Boundaries Commission is holding public consultations throughout the province to obtain public input regarding the provincial electoral boundaries to include in the drafting of their Interim Report. If you would like to Register to speak at one of these events, email ElectoralBoundariesCommission@novascotia.ca.

A new commission to provide recommendations on electoral boundaries was established in July by the Select Committee on Establishing an Electoral Boundaries Commission. Under the terms of reference, the commission is to submit an interim report by Nov. 30 and its final report by Apr. 1, 2019.

In addition to the public hearings, the commission will also receive written submissions. A second round of public consultations will be held after the interim report is filed. Anyone wanting to register to speak at one of the public hearings can email ElectoralBoundariesCommission@novascotia.ca Information related to the select committee’s report can be found at https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/committees/select/select-committee-establishing-electoral-boundaries-commission-2018

The members of the Electoral Boundaries Commission are:

- Colin Dodds, chair, Halifax

- Carlotta Weymouth, Dartmouth

- Michael J. Kelloway, Sydney

- Paul Gaudet, Saulnierville

- Michael J. Baker, Hammonds Plains

- Glenn Graham, Antigonish

- Peter Marshall Butler, Halifax

- Leonard LeFort, Cheticamp

- Angela Simmonds, Westphal, Halifax Regional Municipality

Final report by April 1: Under the terms of reference, the commission is to submit an interim report by Nov. 30 and its final report by Apr. 1, 2019.

PREVIOUS STORIES:

JANUARY 2018: BOUNDARIES COMMISSION SHOULD BE ABLE TO RECOMMEND 'EXCEPTIONAL' RIDINGS, PANEL SAYS 

SEPTEMBER 2017: PUBLIC TELLS PROVINCE TO REINSTATE ELECTORAL RIDING IN CLARE

SEPTEMBER 2017: BRING BACK THE ACADIAN RIDINGS COMMISSION SEEKING INPUT TOLD DURING MEETING IN TUSKET

FEBRUARY 2017: LETTER TO THE EDITOR: DO THE RIGHT THING ON ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES FOR SHELBURNE

SCHEDULE OF CURRENT SESSIONS:

• Tuesday, September 4 –  Sackville 6:00-8:00 pm: Acadia Hall, 650 Sackville Dr, Lower Sackville

• Wednesday, September 5 –  Bedford 6:00-8:00 pm, BMO Centre, 61 Gary Martin Dr, Bedford

• Thursday, September 6 – Halifax 6:00-8:00 pm, Future Inns, 30 Fairfax Dr, Halifax

• Friday, September 7 –  Shelburne 6:00 – 8:00 pm, Osprey Arts Centre, 107 Water Street, Shelburne

• Saturday, September 8 – Tusket 10 :00 am – 12 :00 pm, Salle Père-Maurice-LeBlanc in Centre communitaire de Par-en-Bas, 4258 Highway 308, Tusket Simultaneous interpretation services available at this location.

• Saturday, September 8 –  Clare 7:00-9:00 pm: Clare Veterans’ Centre, 9938 Highway 1, Saulnierville: Simultaneous interpretation services available at this location.

• Wednesday, September 12 –  Preston 6:00–8:00 pm, Black Cultural Centre,10 Cherry Brook Rd, Halifax

• Thursday, September 13 –  Dartmouth 6:00-8:00 pm, Cole Harbour Place (Westphal Room), 51 Forest Hills Pky, Dartmouth

• Friday, September 14 – Richmond County 6:00-8:00 pm, Louisdale & District Fire Hall, Highway 4, Louisdale Simultaneous interpretation services available at this location.

• Saturday, September 15 – Cheticamp 6:00-8:00 pm, Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 32,15438 Cabot Trail Rd, Chéticamp Simultaneous interpretation services available at this location.

• Saturday, September 22 – Baddeck 10:00 am-12:00 pm, Inverary Resort Conference Centre (Room: Glasgow 1), 368 Shore Rd, Baddeck

• Saturday, September 22 – Sydney 7:00-9:00 pm, Cambridge Inn Suites Hotel, 380 Esplanade, Sydney

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