Part I – Initial Report to the House of Commons (December 10, 2012) – Alberta – The Public Hearings

The Proposal was discussed at 15 public hearings held during September 2012 at the following places:

Places Dates
Barrhead
Monday, September 10, 2012
Grande Prairie
Monday, September 10, 2012
Peace River
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Fort McMurray
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Vegreville
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Edmonton
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Edmonton
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Edmonton
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Camrose
Friday, September 14, 2012
Lethbridge
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Strathmore (cancelled)*
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Red Deer
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Red Deer
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Calgary
Monday, September 24, 2012
Calgary
Monday, September 24, 2012
Calgary
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

*The public hearing that was scheduled for Strathmore was cancelled as the only registered presenter agreed to present in Lethbridge.

The Commission received 164 notices to appear at the public hearings, although not all registered persons appeared. Time permitted submissions from the floor at each hearing, resulting in a total of 154 oral presentations; this included presentations from three sitting members of Parliament. The Commission received 383 written submissions from persons and organizations, all of which were considered in preparation of the Commission's report. The written material ranged from formal submissions with accompanying maps to brief faxes and e-mail messages.

At the public hearings, the Commission thanked the public for its participation and reviewed its statutory mandate under section 15 of the Act. The Commission explained the requirement to seek population parity where reasonably possible, the need to consider the criteria outlined in paragraph 15(1)(b), and the right to deviate where it was deemed necessary or desirable.

The public hearings provided valuable information about factors such as geography, history, and communities of interest and identity in relation to the federal electoral boundaries. At every hearing, the Commission gained local knowledge that assisted in its deliberations. The need to balance various competing interests, however, inevitably led to not all requests being accommodated.

The Commission's Proposal met with considerable approval from presenters and from many correspondents. Many expressed support for the low deviations from the electoral quota. In Edmonton and Calgary, presenters expressed general satisfaction with the boundaries, and most requests for change relating to the two major cities were minor.

The Proposal also attracted negative comments, particularly in relation to the geographic size of the proposed electoral district of Peace River—Westlock. In addition, presenters from various areas expressed concerns with some of the following: electoral district names; combinations of rural and urban interests; placement in one electoral district over another; hidden and shadow populations; anticipated population growth; and disassociation from shopping, social and recreational networks.

Concerns were also expressed about the division of specific counties and municipalities. When drawing boundaries, the Commission considered existing boundaries of federal electoral districts, provincial electoral districts, counties and municipalities, and followed those boundaries where practical. After the hearings, the Commission considered the requests to unite municipalities and counties; it was able to accommodate some, but not all, requests. Although coterminous boundaries help maintain communities of interest and ease administrative communications, federal policies are not generally determined on the basis of municipal boundaries and the Commission occasionally found it necessary or desirable to divide counties.

Following the hearings, the Commission reviewed all of the electoral districts and revisited many of the electoral boundaries. As a result of the constructive input received, the Commission has made boundary changes to 20 of the 34 proposed electoral districts. Those changes vary from significant to minor. Names of five proposed electoral districts have also been changed.

The Commission remains satisfied that no extraordinary circumstances exist to require a deviation from the province's electoral quota by more or less than 25%. The largest electoral district has a 2011 census population count of 111,785, which is 4.26% above the electoral quota; the smallest has a population of 101,538, which is 5.29% below the electoral quota.





Please note that this application does not work correctly in Internet Explorer 8. Please use a newer version of Internet Explorer or another browser such as Firefox or Chrome.