Residents disappointed with electoral boundary re-distribution

 It appears a number of southern Albertans are upset with changes to the federal electoral boundaries.

The addition of six new ridings in the province means a smaller Lethbridge riding, and a Medicine Hat district that stretches all the way west to Cardston, and also includes Raymond and Magrath.

Many residents in those communities say they identify closer with Lethbridge than Medicine Hat, and can’t see the new boundaries working.

“I consider us like a little suburb of Lethbridge,” said one Raymond resident.

“They don’t have the same issues, the same needs,” suggested a resident of Glenwood.

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It’s all part of the redistribution of federal electoral boundaries, which is done every ten years to help balance the representation by population.

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“If the MP is fielding calls and doing the work of the constituency, geography shouldn’t matter,” said Dr. Faron Ellis, a political scientist at Lethbridge College. He believes the interests of southern Albertans will be represented, no matter which riding they’re in.

The report wouldn’t impact Jim Hillyer’s future in representing the riding. Although he is a resident of Raymond, the Canada Elections Act doesn’t require that you live in the same riding you represent.

Public consultation has ended, but the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Alberta says it has heard from residents, including many who thought the smaller towns south of Lethbridge should stick together, no matter which riding they’re a part of.

The final decision will come after recommendations are made by a Parliamentary committee, which is expected later this year.

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