MP Hillyer against proposed riding changes

Lethbridge MP Jim Hillyer is filing an official complaint to proposed changes to federal electoral boundaries.

The new maps would see the Lethbridge riding shrink to just city and County of Lethbridge boundaries, and the Medicine Hat district stretch all the way to Cardston. Raymond and Magrath would also be part of the expanded Medicine Hat boundary.

But Hillyer, along with Medicine Hat MP LaVar Payne, wants to see a change that would have Brooks re-join Medicine Hat, at which point the areas south of Lehbridge would then become part of a mostly rural Bow River riding, shaped similar to a horseshoe, spanning as far north as Strathmore.

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“If it’s predominantly rural, the smaller areas would not be forgotten,” said Hillyer over the phone from Ottawa. “Talking to the community, that has received a lot of support, and that’s what I’ll bring up with the committee.”

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Last week, Global News spoke to Raymond and Cardston residents who were upset about the proposal. Many people believed they don’t share the same views as voters who live over two hours to the east.

Roughly 80 other Members of Parliament have filed objections with the Electoral Boundaries Commission.

Hillyer believes it’s important to keep the Lethbridge district together, but find a better solution for the rural ridings.

“I want to make sure I’m at the table, so they don’t make a revision to re-seperate the south region to two separate ridings,” he said.

“That would leave those communities (such as Raymond, Magrath, Cardston) isolated in an already large region.”

Hillyer anticipates going before the commission and a Parliamentary committee in the coming months.

The final decision on the electoral boundaries is expected in September.

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