Oakville angry with proposed plan to change federal ridings


Published September 28, 2022 at 4:38 pm

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton penned a letter to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission of Ontario expressing Town Council's concern over proposed electoral district boundary changes in north Oakville. TOWN OF OAKVILLE IMAGES

Mayor Rob Burton penned a letter Wednesday (Sept. 28) to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission of Ontario expressing the town’s concerns with the proposed redistricting of north Oakville.

The federal government has recommended the redistribution of several federal electoral districts, including the proposed “Georgetown-Milton East” electoral district.

Burton wanted to make it clear that Oakville Council opposes the proposed electoral district boundary changes “as they do not reflect Oakville’s communities of identity or interest.”

In the letter to the Boundaries Commission, the Oakville Mayor told them:

  • The proposed boundaries do not reflect North Oakville’s legislated, steady and fast population growth over the span of this redistribution.
  • The proposed changes would put Oakville’s newest area at a disadvantage for funding and support by being separated politically for representation from the rest of Oakville.
  • The proposed changes would result in residents of Oakville’s Ward 7 and Ward 6 being placed in a federal riding with residents of Georgetown and Milton East, making it difficult for the Oakville residents to voice their needs to federal and provincial elected officials.

“Oakville Town Council instead suggests that the boundaries be adjusted to better reflect the primary population of the electoral district,” Burton wrote to the commissioners. “Oakville is experiencing rapid, legislated growth that requires adequate representation under The Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.”

Under the act, departures from the electoral quota are allowed up to 25 per cent. Burton pointed out that, according to the province’s rules, Oakville’s population in 2021 already equals enough residents to justify two ridings.

He said an east-west pair of ridings would be a more efficient and equitable electoral grouping of Oakville’s population.

“The proposed changes would not only undermine Oakville’s communities of interest, but Halton Region as a whole,” wrote the Oakville Mayor, who also sent a copy of the letter to Halton Heads of Council, other council members, Halton’s Members of Parliament and local Members of Provincial Parliament.

The changes (image below) would result in joining parts of Oakville with other Halton municipalities:

  • Oakville-Lakeshore would include a part of eastern Burlington
  • Oakville North would include a part of eastern Burlington
  • Georgetown-Milton East would join the most rapidly growing part of Oakville with slower-growing and more established areas of Halton Region.

Burton added that all three Commission-proposed ridings would include minority populations from Burlington or Oakville.

“The provincial and federal elected officials of these proposed districts would be left to liaise among a multitude of municipal councils,” he wrote. “Inevitably, any given group would have its voice reduced.”

The four Halton Region municipalities involved in the proposed electoral districts, said Burton, each have their own individual and unique identity.

Consequently, he added, Halton mayors and residents celebrated the end of the amalgamation threat in 2019.

“The objective of the redistribution of electoral boundaries is to provide up-to-date representation for residents in the relevant districts,” the Oakville mayor said. “The proposed changes provide none of the above and instead undermine the unique identities and interests of the Halton Region municipalities.

“Oakville Town Council urges the Commission to consider the recommendations above and propose electoral boundaries that better reflect the interests of the people of Oakville and Halton Region.”

The Constitution of Canada requires that federal electoral districts be reviewed every 10 years.

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