Federal election boundary changes are on the way and Battlefords-Lloydminster won’t escape the impact.
The Federal Election Boundary Commission for Saskatchewan is making recommendations to set the new electoral boundaries for the 14 ridings that represent Saskatchewan in the House of Commons.
If adopted, the changes would take effect for the 2015 federal election, and could bring some definite changes for many Saskatchewan residents as to who represents them in Parliament.
Among the changes is a redrawing of the Battlefords-Lloydminster constituency currently held by Conservative Gerry Ritz.
The new map would essentially remove much of the Kindersley portion of the riding, while adding a large area to the east that extends to Rosthern.
The redrawn riding will be named Lloydminster-Battlefords-Rosthern (population 74,653) and would extend from Lloydminster in the west to as far east as highway 11. Included in the new boundaries are significant rural portions mainly from Saskatoon-Wanuskewin.
The riding currently includes the communities of Ruddell, Maymont, Radisson and Borden within is boundaries. All of those towns, located along highway 16, would be included in the proposed new Lloydminster-Battlefords-Rosthern riding, with the proposed boundary extending to the Borden bridge on North Saskatchewan River, including the towns of Borden and Radisson.
Other communities from Saskatoon-Wanuskewin that are slated to join the new Lloydminster-Battlefords-Rosthern riding include Blaine Lake, Krydor and Hafford, among others.
Much of the southern portion of the riding including the towns of Kindersley, Kerrobert and area is slated to be carved off from the Battlefords-Lloydminster riding. That section of territory is to join a new and largely rural riding called Kindersley-Rosetown-Humboldt.
That riding will include large chunks of rural land from Battleford-Lloydminster to the west, Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar in the centre and Saskatoon-Wanuskewin to the east. It also includes the city of Martensville and town of Warman, both of which are currently in Saskatoon-Wanuskewin.
Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar is currently held by Conservative MP Kelly Block. Saskatoon-Wanuskewin is held by Conservative Maurice Vellacott.
Remaining as part of the proposed Lloydminster-Battlefords-Rosthern riding are towns including Maidstone, Unity, Wilkie, Cando, Denholm, and Meota, as well as Lloydminster, Battleford and North Battleford.
The reasons for the proposed changes in the boundaries, according to the commission, includes the growing and shifting population in Saskatchewan. As well, the commission proposes major changes affecting the Regina and Saskatoon ridings, proposing to largely eliminate the hybrid rural-urban ridings in place there and replace them mainly with all-urban constituencies. Proposed ridings for Saskatoon would include Saskatoon West and Saskatoon Centre-University.
“The population shifts of the past decade called into question the continued suitability of the composite urban-rural electoral districts,” the commission stated at their website.
“This issue is central to the Commission's proposal for the province's 14 electoral districts. It was also central to the concerns expressed by a considerable number of Saskatchewanians who contacted the Commission with communications ranging from brief, one-sentence or one-paragraph notes to formal documents presented on behalf of a group or association. These communications almost unanimously voiced opposition to the continued use of hybrid urban-rural districts in Saskatchewan.”
Only the proposed Regina-Qu’Appelle riding, and to a much lesser extent the proposed Saskatoon Grasswood riding, would be urban-rural hybrids under the new setup.
While the boundaries have prompted some discussion and comment, they are not yet set in stone and could still see changes following public hearings around the province this fall.
Public hearings on the new boundaries are scheduled for that time, with one of those hearings scheduled for the Don Ross Centre in North Battleford at 10am on October 2.
Anyone wishing to make a presentation to the commission is encouraged to contact the commission in writing by September 3. More details on how to do that can be found at the website www.redecoupage-federal-redistribution.ca, clicking the Saskatchewan tab and then clicking the category “Public Hearings.”