By Robert Washburn
As the number of politicians opposed to electoral boundary changes in Northumberland-Quinte West is growing, the public still remains passive.
However, some pretty smart people from inside the political class in the county are making compelling arguments against the changes. Here are some of them:
Certainly, the most obvious is the name Northumberland County. Removing this from the political map is going to hurt a lot of people, organizations and municipalities. It is the way we have identified ourselves since the earliest days of settlement.
Another incredibly obvious point is the divergent interests of this massive area. Lindsay, Port Hope and Cobourg have little in common. Once the railway joined them together, a really long time ago. But that was it. Since Confederation, these have never been in the same electoral district.
It is going to undermine the county level of government. To get anything done, how is the county supposed to get heard at the federal and provincial level of government? It will need to lobby two MPs and two MPPs every time. Nothing could be more ridiculous. It is a formula for paralysis.
A proposal is circulating in Liberal circles proposing the expansion of Northumberland to include the old Clarke Township to the west and Cavan-Monaghan to the north. It would create a new riding called Northumberland-Pine Ridge.
This has a bit more historic validity since Durham and Northumberland were once joined. And, taking in the north side of Rice Lake would do little to harm the riding. Most people come south to Port Hope and Cobourg for shopping and economic activity. Also, many current non-government county services stretch into these areas.
Allowing Quinte West to join Hastings would make a lot of sense, too, as the proposal suggests.
Until the Electoral Boundaries Commission or local political representatives provide a map with poll by poll results for the past five elections showing results, this entire things reeks of political manipulation. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government are not beyond total contempt for federal agencies and departments. We watched this with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Statistics Canada. These politicians are ruthless.
“…this entire things reeks of political manipulation.”
Of course it is politically motivated.
Welcome to a swing riding!
Should politicians, bent on winning the next election, reset boundaries to enhance their chances?
It has been done like this for years, Rob. We can cry: “Unfair!” or “Foul!” but let’s face it, the political machine is moving and we have little or no say in the matter.
Yes, we do get a chance to voice our opinions. Be comforted with a forum.
The name change is a little hard to take but maybe that will be the “giving in” part of the politicians. Maybe the proposed boundaries to the north are redrawn and this area keeps its Northumberland designation.
“Surely they will be comforted with that!” the architects said before these proposals.
God bless everyone who voices their opinions regarding the matter. I probably share many of their opinions and reasons for their objections.
Just do not expect to get more than a name retention in this matter.
We will be happy with the status quo.
The politicians have already won.
The Ontario Commission seems to have done a good job in most of Ontario, judging only by objections from municipal councils.
The major hot spot is the belt of seven ridings: HALIBURTON—UXBRIDGE, OSHAWA-BOWMANVILLE, OSHAWA-DURHAM, KAWARTHA LAKES—PORT HOPE—COBOURG, PRINCE EDWARD—QUINTE WEST, BELLEVILLE—NAPANEE—FROTENAC, and LANARK—FRONTENAC—HASTINGS. Virtually every municipal council and County or Regional council has objected, and has set up working groups preparing alternative plans.
There is a small, easily fixed hot spot in SIMCOE—GREY. Both The Blue Mountains council and members of Collingwood council have expressed a desire for Blue to remain in Simcoe-Grey. In Dufferin County, Mulmur and its county council agree: don’t remove Mulmur from DUFFERIN—CALEDON. Moving Mulmur back out of SIMCOE—GREY into DUFFERIN—CALEDON would put DUFFERIN—CALEDON back to its present population of 116,341, less than 10% above quotient. SIMCOE—GREY would lose Mulmur and regain The Blue Mountains, making it 116,307, also less than 10% above quotient. BRUCE—GREY—OWEN SOUND would shrink to 106,475, perfect. Problem solved.
Other than that, nothing coherent that I can find from municipal councils. Rumblings in Aurora, comments from the mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville, so York Region is worth watching. That’s about it.