Part I – Initial Report to the House of Commons (December 6, 2012) – New Brunswick – Redistribution of Electoral Districts

2. Redistribution of Electoral Districts

The following section provides some data for each electoral district (in alphabetical order) before and after the boundaries readjustment following the 2011 Census.

Each summary reviews the Commission’s recommendations or proposals, the presentations by members of the public, and the Commission’s resulting final readjustments. Detailed boundary descriptions may be found in the Schedule to our report. Maps follow in the last section.

This section also details any name changes and the reasons for those changes. More historical background justifying the names of most of the electoral districts may be found in the 2003 Report of the Commission, available through Elections Canada’s website.

2.1 Acadie—Bathurst

  2011 Census / Before
Redistribution
Report
Population 77,792 79,340
Variance from provincial electoral quota (75,117) +3.56% +5.62%
Geographic area 3,025 km2 4,783 km2
Name change None

In our proposal, the village of Belledune, now part of the riding of Miramichi, would be transferred to Acadie—Bathurst on the basis of lack of community of interest between that community and the riding of Miramichi, as well as impractical accessibility from Miramichi to Belledune by reason of distance. In fact, the village of Belledune is separated from the riding of Miramichi by the riding of Acadie—Bathurst. All stakeholders acknowledged that effective representation was impossible under these circumstances.

Though Miramichi already has a very high negative variance from the provincial electoral quota, we view this as a case where the need for effective representation clearly trumps the lack of relative voter parity.

At the hearing in Caraquet, the Commission heard the member of Parliament for Acadie—Bathurst. He informed the Commission that he agreed with the proposal wholeheartedly but that the people of the village of Belledune should be consulted. He agreed with the member of Parliament for Miramichi that the village of Belledune should be removed from Miramichi for lack of community of interest as well as impractical accessibility.

The people of the village of Belledune expressed their views at a public hearing in Belledune two weeks later; all presenters but one agreed with the Commission’s comments in its proposal that the village of Belledune in its entirety should be transferred from the riding of Miramichi to the riding of Acadie— Bathurst. The transfer is justified on the basis of stronger communities of interest, particularly from an economic standpoint, by reason of the city of Bathurst’s strong ties to Belledune’s large port and industries. Moreover, the village council had recently officially opted to join the newly created Regional Services Commission 3, which would encompass the greater Bathurst area and whose communities will share municipal planning and waste management, handled by staff located in the riding of Acadie—Bathurst.

One presenter in favour of transferring the village of Belledune to the riding of Madawaska—Restigouche opined that there existed strong cultural and historical ties with that riding. That view was also expressed by the member of Parliament for Miramichi in a written submission.

All factors being considered, including the already long distances to be covered by an elected representative to meet the people of the riding of Madawaska-Restigouche, the decision to transfer Belledune out of Miramichi and into Acadie—Bathurst was easier than anticipated, in view of the strong representations of the elected representative from Belledune and others.

The village of Belledune in its entirety will therefore be transferred to the riding of Acadie—Bathurst, as proposed by the Commission and supported generally by the people of Belledune.

The mayor of Belledune brought to our attention that the village of Belledune now includes the community of Jacquet River. He mentioned that there exists a zone known as the “Jacquet River Gorge protected natural area”, which in his view could be developed for the economic benefit of the area. This protected zone is situated in part in the riding of Madawaska—Restigouche and in part in Acadie—Bathurst. As was done for Mount Carleton, we were urged to include all of that zone within the riding of Acadie—Bathurst so that constituents could avoid having to deal with two elected representatives, should the need arise. We agree that a close connection does exist between the Gorge and the community of Jacquet River – and, as Jacquet River is now part of the village of Belledune, it stands to reason that the protected zone should be part of the riding of Acadie—Bathurst. The legal description of the protected area is given in the Schedule to our report.

Finally, the member of Parliament for Acadie—Bathurst also urged the Commission to consider the danger for the Francophone minority of the city of Moncton of transferring the town of Dieppe to the riding of Beauséjour. In his view, such a transfer would diminish the political influence of the Francophone community in the proposed Moncton—Riverview riding by reducing that linguistic minority’s critical mass, a theme to be repeated in Moncton and Belledune later on by two interested groups. He noted that such loss of political influence could affect important Francophone institutions, such as the George L. Dumont hospital and the Université de Moncton, both located in the city of Moncton, where the Francophone community would be reduced to 20% from 32%. He did not elaborate further.

The Commission’s decision on that point is detailed in sections 2.2 and 2.7 below.

2.2 Beauséjour

  2011 Census / Before
Redistribution
Report
Population 78,076 84,305
Variance from provincial electoral quota (75,117) +3.94% +12.23%
Geographic area 6,820 km2 4,253 km2
Name change None

As mentioned in section 2.1, our proposal situated the entire town of Dieppe within a new riding, to be called Beauséjour—Dieppe. At the public hearing, the member of Parliament for Beauséjour made a strong case in support of our proposal. He argued that there were no reasons to fear that smaller communities in his riding would be neglected in favour of an expanding Dieppe, which would consume much more of his time to the detriment of other communities. As he mentioned, anyone aspiring to represent the people of such a riding could not ignore the small communities that would constitute two thirds of its population. He also provided good arguments in response to most of the concerns expressed by the groups representing the Francophone minority in what would have been the riding of Moncton—Riverview.

For reasons mentioned in our discussion of the Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe electoral district (section 2.7), the Commission decided against its original proposal to transfer the entire town of Dieppe into Beauséjour. It should be noted that about half of the population of Dieppe is now part of Beauséjour.

The Commission, however, has adjusted the boundaries so that some communities now fall outside of Beauséjour and within Fundy Royal, and has taken additional communities out of the tri-community riding and added them to Beauséjour. These communities are all identified in section 2.7.

2.3 Fredericton

  2011 Census / Before
Redistribution
Report
Population 93,181 81,759
Variance from provincial electoral quota (75,117) +24.05% +8.84%
Geographic area 3,076 km2 1,678 km2
Name change None

In our proposal, the Commission set out to reduce the large +24.05% variance from the electoral quota. We proposed to transfer the parishes of Canning and Chipman to Fundy Royal and the parishes of Maugerville, Northfield, Sheffield and the village of Minto to Tobique—Mactaquac. Part of the parishes of Lincoln and Burton would also be transferred to New Brunswick Southwest.

The Commission based the proposed transfers on the belief that there was a community of interest between the transferred communities and the targeted recipient ridings. Perhaps as importantly, fairness required a consistent approach to joining some portions of the major city ridings with the adjacent rural or non-urban communities as had been done in Moncton and, to a lesser extent, in Saint John. The end result was to achieve some balance in relative voter parity between urban and rural electoral districts, where practical. The proposed transfers would have resulted in a reduction of the variance to +4.32% for the Fredericton electoral district.

The public hearings held for the electoral districts of Fredericton, Fundy Royal and New Brunswick Southwest made clear that most presenters from the transferred communities wanted to remain in Fredericton, for a multitude of reasons.

Their arguments were based primarily on the principles of community of interest and identity – mainly that, in our laudable attempt to achieve relative voter parity, we proceeded on the debatable assumption that the transferred communities had closer connections to the electoral districts where they were to be transferred. Conversely, people also understood that the Commission could not realistically adopt everyone’s wishes and leave the riding with a variance close to 25% when the circumstances did not justify it.

In an attempt to bring the population of this riding substantially closer to the electoral quota, the Commission received some support from the member of Parliament for Tobique—Mactaquac. He pointed out that some communities located west of Devon Indian Reserve No. 30, north of Ring Road and the transmission line and east of the boundaries of the city of Fredericton, would be a natural fit with his riding, as the addition is an eastward extension of his boundaries. In his view, these constituents have many things in common with his constituents, such as language and culture. He pointed out that the elected representative from Tobique—Mactaquac enjoys a practical accessibility to these communities. The Commission concurred, and the boundaries of Tobique—Mactaquac will therefore be extended so that these communities will now be within the riding.

The hearing in Fredericton was heavily attended and the submissions were well prepared. It was argued that communities adjacent to Fredericton, Oromocto and New Maryland (such as Geary, Waasis, Rusagonis and Maugerville) should remain part of the electoral district of Fredericton on the grounds that they had common interests with communities located in the electoral district of Fredericton. The argument was also made that to have these communities remain part of the Fredericton riding would not compromise relative voter parity, in that the variance would be well below the 25% allowed by the Act.

In the final analysis, it was clear that the Commission could not accommodate the wishes of all these various communities to remain in the Fredericton electoral district and that some difficult choices had to be made. On the basis of the submissions made, the Commission decided not to follow its proposal and leave a large part of the communities in the riding of Fredericton where they are now. In brief, the portion of the parish of Maugerville along the Saint John River and the communities of Geary, including Haneytown, Waterville and French Lake, will not be transferred out of the Fredericton riding as proposed earlier by the Commission. The end result is that part of the parish of Maugerville situated south of the Canadian National Railway and the entire parish of Sheffield will remain within the electoral district of Fredericton.

As a result, the Commission decided that it could not justify leaving the communities of Waasis and Rusagonis within the riding while also keeping the area north of the city of Fredericton within it. The variance would then simply return to a unacceptable percentage for the electoral district of Fredericton. Moreover, other communities on the north side of the city of Fredericton have a greater claim to staying in the riding of Fredericton. Thus, these three communities (Waasis, Rusagonis and the area north of the city of Fredericton) will be transferred to other ridings.

As detailed in section 2.6, the communities of Chipman and Minto, and part of the parishes of Canning and Northfield, will be transferred from the riding of Fredericton to the riding of Miramichi; part of the parish of Lincoln situated south of the Trans-Canada Highway No. 2 will also be transferred from the riding of Fredericton to the riding of New Brunswick Southwest.

2.4 Fundy Royal

  2011 Census / Before
Redistribution
Report
Population 73,484 79,331
Variance from provincial electoral quota (75,117) –2.17% +5.61%
Geographic area 7,503 km2 7,683 km2
Name change None

In our proposal, we aimed to transfer the remaining part of the town of Quispamsis from the riding of Saint John to Fundy Royal. For reasons given in section 2.9, the Commission remains convinced that this is a good change.

We also suggested transferring the parish of Studholm and the village of Norton from New Brunswick Southwest to Fundy Royal, and to revise the boundaries so that the communities of the parishes of Canning and Chipman and the village of Chipman would have fallen within the riding of Fundy Royal.

For reasons covered in section 2.6, the parishes of Canning and Chipman, including the village of Chipman, will be located within the riding of Miramichi.

For reasons covered in section 2.7, the communities located west of Highway 126 and the boundaries of the city of Moncton will be transferred from Beauséjour to Fundy Royal.

For reasons covered in section 2.9, part of the parish of Simonds comprising the Cape Spencer area will be taken from Fundy Royal and transferred to the riding of Saint John.

The dividing line between the electoral districts of New Brunswick Southwest and Fundy Royal passes through the village of Norton. No one took issue with the Commission’s proposal to transfer all of the village of Norton to the riding of Fundy Royal. The transfer will accordingly be made.

The Commission had also proposed to alter the boundaries so that the entire parish of Studholm, now in New Brunswick Southwest, would be within Fundy Royal. The Commission wished to accommodate the electors of the village of Apohaqui, for whom a legislative adaptation had to be obtained for them to cast their vote in their own community centre now located in the riding of Fundy Royal. At the public hearing, however, it became obvious that the constituents of New Brunswick Southwest did not share our views on this proposed transfer. Presenters made the point that the constituents of that parish did not have any community of interest with the riding of Fundy Royal and felt that to retain them in their riding was more important than trying to accommodate the staff responsible for elections. In their view, one that we share, if an adaptation under the Canada Elections Act is necessary for them to cast their votes in their community centre, so be it.

Finally, the Commission proposed to change the name of this riding from Fundy Royal to Fundy—Quispamsis, considering that all of the town of Quispamsis will now be in Fundy Royal. This was opposed by all presenters, even those from the Quispamsis area. Several reasons were advanced, most of them being historical in nature. Some presenters pointed out that several communities other than Quispamsis were as important to this riding and that they did not understand why Quispamsis would be preferred to be part of the name of the riding. Some suggested that the Commission was insensitive in this year of the Queen’s Jubilee to take out the word ‘’Royal’’ from the name of the riding. Upon further deliberations, the Commission decided to maintain the riding’s name as Fundy Royal.

2.5 Madawaska—Restigouche

  2011 Census / Before
Redistribution
Report
Population 61,106 62,540
Variance from provincial electoral quota (75,117) –18.65% –16.74%
Geographic area 10,721 km2 11,886 km2
Name change None

No major changes were proposed for this riding. However, in response to a posting on our website prior to the publication of our proposal, a significant change was suggested by a person representing an interested group, which chose not to appear at the hearing in St-Quentin. The presenter argued, as was done some 10 years ago before the previous Commission, that the communities of Grand Falls, St-André and Drummond should be transferred to the Madawaska—Restigouche riding from Tobique—Mactaquac. The opinion was based principally upon community of identity: that, in terms of language and culture, these communities should be part of the electoral district of Madawaska—Restigouche, where the Francophone community forms a majority of residents.

At the public hearing, however, all presenters, both Francophones and Anglophones, who addressed the issue either did not argue in favour of such a transfer or unequivocally opposed it on the basis of economic communities of interest. The mayor of Grand Falls, who also spoke on behalf of the communities of Drummond and St-André, clearly indicated a strong opposition to a transfer of the three communities and an express desire to remain within the electoral district of Tobique—Mactaquac. In his view, the three communities should not be separated from others involved in the province’s potato industry, all of which were part of the Tobique—Mactaquac riding. He emphasized that the economic community of interest should prevail over the community of identity based on language and culture. He also expressed the view that harmony existed between the two linguistic groups in Tobique—Mactaquac and that they worked well together to achieve shared economic goals.

The views expressed by the presenters who argued in favour of maintaining the status quo for these communities was also firmly supported in cogent arguments by presenters at a subsequent public hearing in Woodstock.

On consideration of the public input, the Commission believes that these three communities should remain part of the electoral district of Tobique—Mactaquac, as proposed.

The Commission also proposed to transfer the communities of the parishes of Colborne and Durham from the riding of Miramichi to the riding of Madawaska—Restigouche on the grounds that there are communities of interest between these communities and those of Madawaska—Restigouche and practically none with the riding of Miramichi. There is also a considerable distance between the riding of Miramichi and these communities – whose constituents and their elected representative have to travel quite a distance through the riding of Acadie—Bathurst to reach one another. Effective representation under such circumstances is obviously compromised. Those were the main reasons that prompted the Commission to propose the removal of the village of Belledune from the riding of Miramichi, as further detailed in section 2.1.

A representative for the member of Parliament for Miramichi expressed the view that the removal of those communities from the riding of Miramichi was a reasonable decision.

A presenter in St-Quentin also brought to our attention that part of the mountain and tourist area known as Mount Carleton, a provincial park located some 35 kilometers from the town of St-Quentin, was partly situated in the riding of Madawaska—Restigouche and partly in the riding of Miramichi. He argued forcefully that this anomaly should be corrected, despite the fact that the area constitutes a provincial park rather than a group of constituents. In his view, those who have the development of that park at heart should not have to consult two members of Parliament should the need arise. He also made the point that there was in fact an economic community of interest between the citizens of the St-Quentin area and Mount Carleton, in the sense that many persons from that region use the park and have worked hard toward its enhancement as an important tourist attraction with economic benefits for the surrounding communities. In his view, one that we share, there exists a strong connection between that provincial park and the people of the St-Quentin region.

In our view, the entirety of the Mount Carleton provincial park should be included in the riding of Madawaska—Restigouche and the portion of the park to be transferred to that riding from the riding of Miramichi should follow the current boundaries of the provincial electoral district of Restigouche—La Vallée. A legal description of such a transfer is part of this report.

Accordingly, on the basis of community of interest and effective representation, the following transfers will be made: the entirety of the Mount Carleton provincial park will be included in Madawaska—Restigouche along with the parishes of Colborne and Durham.

The communities of Grand Falls, Drummond and St-André will remain within the electoral district of Tobique—Mactaquac on the basis of an economic community of interest.

2.6 Miramichi

  2011 Census / Before
Redistribution
Report
Population 51,996 59,343
Variance from provincial electoral quota (75,117) –30.78% –21.00%
Geographic area 14,654 km2 17,418 km2
Name change None

As discussed in section 2.1, the Commission proposed to transfer the village of Belledune from Miramichi to Acadie—Bathurst, and retains that proposal in this report.

The Commission also proposed to transfer the parishes of Harcourt, Huskisson and Welford and the First Nations community of Richibucto Indian Reserve No. 15 from Beauséjour to Miramichi. The member of Parliament for Beauséjour expressed regrets in seeing those communities leave his riding as he felt he had established a positive connection with them. No one, however, challenged the Commission’s view that these communities share a community of interest with those of the riding of Miramichi, and presenters at the public hearing for Miramichi concurred. Furthermore, there was a clear need to increase the number of constituents in the riding of Miramichi, if it could be achieved without compromising the overall objective of effective representation.

Accordingly, the communities of Upper Miramichi and the above-mentioned parishes, along with Richibucto Indian Reserve No. 15, will join the riding of Miramichi.

As a result of these changes, the variance from the electoral quota for this electoral district would still be –28.66%, well below the allowable variance, unless the Commission were of the view that it should stand on the basis of “extraordinary circumstances” as provided in section 15(2) of the Act. In its proposal, the Commission expressed the view that such a high variance was justified by the size of the territory to be covered by the elected representative and the lack of community of interest or connection with the surrounding ridings.

However, as a result of further study and representations, the Commission is now of the view that at least two reasons support the transfer of some communities to the electoral district of Miramichi, to increase its population with communities that have enough connections with the electoral district so as not to compromise the concept of community of interest.

First, the Commission’s more in-depth research indicates that the allowance of a variance exceeding 25% of the electoral quota on the basis of “extraordinary circumstances” under the Act has been applied sparingly throughout the country over decades. In essence, the use of that special provision appears to have been reserved, at least at the federal level, for extreme cases where the vastness of the territory or geographical character of a given area simply makes it impossible for it to be joined with any other electoral district despite its very low population base. Such is the case, for example, for the electoral district of Labrador in Newfoundland and Labrador, which has a population of 27,000 and a variance of –62%. The territory covers some 270,000 square kilometers, compared to New Brunswick’s 74,000 square kilometers. The electoral district of Kenora in northern Ontario has a variance of –47% and also covers an area larger than the entire province of New Brunswick. The Commission is therefore under a legal obligation to effect a redistribution that increases voter parity and ensures that no district is beyond the 25% variance.

As mentioned above, a presenter in Saint John contended that the wide discrepancy in population in the riding of Miramichi, as compared to others, compromised the concept of voter parity or representation by population. Likewise, a former member of Parliament for the riding of Miramichi argued that to allow the riding to exist on the basis of extraordinary circumstances with such a high negative variance would inevitably bring about its disappearance as a riding. In his view, some communities could be added to increase its population without violating the principle of community of interest.

At the public hearing in Fredericton, the village of Minto, through its mayor, expressed the view that his village and that of Chipman should not be part of different ridings and that they both shared a community of interest with the riding of Fredericton. In his view, these communities did not have many ties with any community other than those in the riding of Fredericton, contrary to the belief that the Commission expressed in its proposal.

In the view of some presenters, the proposed addition of the communities of Upper Miramichi and those of the parishes of Huskisson, Hartcourt and Welford to the riding of Miramichi were welcome changes. Their character as rural communities, their economic community of interest and their linguistic profile make them well suited to the riding of Miramichi.

The view was also expressed, and for many of the same reasons, that some communities of the parishes of Chipman and Canning located southeast of the riding would also be well-suited additions to the riding of Miramichi without unduly compromising their community of interest or effective representation. This would result in an increase in Miramichi’s population to within the 25% variance allowed by the Act.

Finally, access by these communities to a member of Parliament for the Miramichi riding would be practical, unlike the situation that existed with the Belledune area.

In summary, the Commission concludes on the basis of the existence of a reasonable measure of community of interest and identity, as well as practical accessibility, that the following communities shall be part of the riding of Miramichi:

  • the parish of Chipman, including the village of Chipman;
  • the parish of Northfield, including the part of the village of Minto located therein;
  • the northern part of the parish of Canning surrounding the village of Minto; and
  • part of the parish of Maugerville situated north of the Canadian National Railway.

2.7 Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe

  2011 Census / Before
Redistribution
Report
Population 98,539 85,595
Variance from provincial electoral quota (75,117) +31.18% +13.95%
Geographic area 200 km2 110 km2
Name change None

In our proposal, we added the town of Dieppe to the electoral district of Beauséjour. In our view, there existed a community of interest and identity between the town of Dieppe and the riding of Beauséjour, considering that almost 18% of Dieppe was already part of the riding of Beauséjour. The community of identity was obvious as the riding of Beauséjour and the town of Dieppe are both heavily populated with majority-Francophone communities. We acknowledged that “smaller communities might feel overwhelmed by the presence in their midst of an expanding city like Dieppe”. We also recognized that the Francophone community of the city of Moncton might react unfavourably to our proposal, considering that their numbers as a minority community were being reduced from 31.6% ( a “critical mass”, according to some of the presenters) to 20% in the proposed new riding of Moncton—Riverview.

As a result of our proposal, the newly formed riding of Beauséjour—Dieppe would have a variance of +22.57% from the electoral quota while that of Moncton—Riverview would stand at +7.60%.

Although some of our concerns were confirmed, we had not predicted the strong negative reaction that our proposal would generate. It became readily apparent that we did not fully appreciate the extent of the community of interest between the communities of Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe, as well as between the Francophone community itself in the tri-community riding. One after the other, individuals speaking on their own behalf and representatives of interested groups argued that the Commission had failed to seriously consider the option of keeping the tri-community riding alive by reducing its size to bring its population within the allowable variance.

The mayors of the three communities reiterated their recognition of the considerable socio-economic regional ties among the three cities. An impressive – though not exhaustive – list of shared endeavours between Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe, realized after decades of hard work and cooperation among these three communities, was provided to the Commission and can be summarized as follows: a regional economic commission and policing authority, a regional solid-waste management facility, a regional sewerage commission and common watershed, as well as a regional airport authority and transit system.

We were consistently reminded of the strong sense of togetherness that exists among the three communities on many fronts. A very strong case was put forward to demonstrate that the retention of a tri-community riding could simply not be ignored when considering the work patterns, the ongoing or long-standing project partnerships and the importance of speaking with one voice for the three communities. Briefly put, the Commission was strongly urged by the large majority of presenters to keep the tri-community concept alive in order to maintain the benefits, impact and influence of the three communities being able to speak effectively with one voice. The mayors of Moncton and Dieppe and a former member of Parliament for the tri-community also spoke of the benefits and the pride of having a strong bilingual community and the importance of preserving a strong Francophone community in their midst.

Although no one attempted to provide a detailed analysis identifying the communities that could be excluded from the tri-community riding, the message was clear: we were going in the wrong direction in annexing Dieppe in its entirety to Beauséjour. The Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick (Emilie-Leblanc Branch), representing the Francophone minority of the tri-community riding, made a robust presentation. It argued that a transfer of Dieppe into Beauséjour would undermine the Francophone minority’s political influence in the proposed Moncton—Riverview riding and endanger the strong community of interest that exists between Francophones as a minority in the city of Moncton. Briefly put, it argued forcefully that, as part of the tri-community riding, the 31.6% Francophone minority was being provided with effective representation by reason of its numbers (a “critical mass”); by a high degree of social organization within the Francophone minority through the presence of Dieppe as a Francophone municipality; and by the presence of major Francophone institutions, such as the Université de Moncton and the Georges L. Dumont University Hospital.

In their view, to transfer the entire town of Dieppe into Beauséjour would jeopardize the effective representation of the 20% of Francophones in the proposed riding of Moncton—Riverview. The solution was not to transfer Dieppe into Beauséjour but to transfer all of Riverview into Fundy Royal.

The view that a transfer of Dieppe into Beauséjour could endanger the effective representation of the Francophone minority left in the proposed Moncton—Riverview riding was echoed by others at the public hearings. A submission by the Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick presented in Belledune supported that view. It argued that the tri-community riding could be saved by extracting certain surrounding communities from the tri-community riding to construct one that would alleviate the concerns of the Francophone minority in the Greater Moncton area while respecting the strong community of interest that binds these three communities. As explained in its brief, the effervescent and energetic character of the Greater Moncton economy and socio-cultural life is due in part to the cooperation among these three communities and the presence of a strong and dynamic Francophone and bilingual community. The Association went so far as to propose the percentage that could be taken from communities surrounding the tri-community riding to achieve an acceptable variance for the smaller riding of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe. As it turns out, what this Commission is adopting as the reduced electoral district of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe largely reflects what the Association proposed; we concluded that there was considerable merit in the proposition that the Francophone minority’s political influence within the proposed new riding of Moncton—Riverview could be weakened.

However, what carried the day was the irrefutable case made by the three communities in identifying the strong community of interest that binds them and that mediates so strongly in favour of keeping all of them, albeit in a reduced form, within one electoral district.

Ultimately, the Commission opted to maintain a smaller version of the tri-community as one electoral district – essentially, reducing its size to an acceptable level while dealing with the concerns of the Acadian and Francophone communities. To do this, the Commission started by looking at communities that could be taken out of the tri-community riding without disrupting the community of interest.

This could, in part, be achieved by heeding the advice of a well-prepared presenter who had expended considerable effort in getting a petition of hundreds of people to support the view that the communities involved should join the Fundy Royal electoral district. The constituents involved are residents of the community west of Route 126 and are presently in the riding of Beauséjour. Although the presenter made it clear that she held the elected representative for Beauséjour in high esteem, it was obvious that the hundreds of people who signed the petition (over 400) believed that their community of interest and identity (language and culture) lay with Fundy Royal rather than Beauséjour.

In addition to these communities, the Commission had to reduce the population of the tri-community riding further to achieve its objectives. Accordingly, we identified some communities around the regional airport and the Fox Creek golf course area that could become part of the Beauséjour district. In the Commission’s view, this would not offend these communities’ sense of belonging or community of interest and identity.

Specifically, the following communities will be trimmed from the existing Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe electoral district to become part of other electoral districts:

  • a)  The communities of the parish of Moncton situated west of Highway 126 and west of the boundaries of the city of Moncton, comprising some 3,000 constituents, will join the Fundy Royal electoral district.
  • b)  The communities around the Greater Moncton International Airport, situated east of Harrisville and Dieppe boulevards, will join the Beauséjour electoral district.
  • c)  The communities surrounding the Fox Creek golf course, situated south of Champlain and Gauvin streets and east of Thomas and Centrale streets, will join the Beauséjour electoral district.
  • d)  The communities located in an area of the city of Moncton north of Trans-Canada Highway No. 2 and formerly part of the electoral district of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe will join the electoral district of Beauséjour.

At the end of this process, the riding of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe will have a variance of 13.95%.

The Commission believes that the new riding has the advantage of meeting most of the expectations of the people of the Greater Moncton area, including the Acadian and Francophone minorities. In fact, the percentage of the linguistic minority in the newly formed riding is reduced to 28.2% (i.e., percentage of households speaking French at home) from 31.6%. The percentage now stands at 34% for those who mention the French language as their mother tongue. In the Commission’s view, those percentages satisfy the “critical mass” argument, whatever its merit.

Not all of the expectations of the mayor of Riverview could be met. She joined the other two mayors in arguing to retain the tri-community as one electoral district, but she also forcefully argued that the town of Riverview, in its entirety, should be within the electoral district of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe. In the final analysis, the Commission could not accept her view (though supported by many presenters) that the part of the town of Riverview now in Fundy Royal should be reunited with the tri-community riding. The addition of these communities to the tri-community riding is incompatible, in numerical terms, with the larger objective and greater benefits of keeping it as one electoral district encompassing the core of the city of Moncton and those of the towns of Riverview and Dieppe. In fact, the addition of that part of Riverview now in Fundy Royal to the trimmed version of the newly formed electoral district of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe would bring the variance of the riding from +13.95% to an unacceptable +25.85%. Such a variance runs counter to the Commission’s general purpose of ensuring greater voter parity and is, in fact, not acceptable under the legislation governing the Commission.

The Commission was of the view that most of the concerns of these constituents from Riverview left out of the tri-community riding would be met if the elected representatives from Fundy Royal could eventually enhance their presence closer to the Riverview area.

2.8 New Brunswick Southwest

  2011 Census / Before
Redistribution
Report
Population 63,618 67,650
Variance from provincial electoral quota (75,117) –15.31% –9.94%
Geographic area 10,706 km2 11,844 km2
Name change None

For reasons given in section 2.4, the parish of Studholm will remain within the electoral district of New Brunswick Southwest. The Commission’s proposal to transfer that area to Fundy Royal will not be implemented.

The parish of Canterbury will be returned to the electoral district of New Brunswick Southwest from Tobique—Mactaquac. The reasons for the transfer are given in section 2.10.

2.9 Saint John—Rothesay

  2011 Census / Before
Redistribution
Report
Population 84,670 82,129
Variance from provincial electoral quota (75,117) +12.72% +9.33%
Geographic area 450 km2 459 km2
Name change From Saint John

The Commission expressed the view in its proposal that this electoral district did not require any fundamental restructuring, but instead put forth two modest changes.

One of the proposed changes was to transfer a small portion of Quispamsis located in the Saint John electoral district to the riding of Fundy Royal on the basis of community of interest and common sense.

The other proposed change related to the community of Cape Spencer, situated in the parish of Simonds. The voters of that small community are located in Fundy Royal but have no practical way of getting to a polling station in their riding, while one is easily accessible in the adjacent riding of Saint John. But to exercise their right to vote in the Saint John riding, an adaptation under the Canada Elections Act must be obtained. It is for that reason that the Commission took the view that the community of Cape Spencer should be transferred to the riding of Saint John along with the entire parish of Simonds.

At the public hearing for the riding of Fundy Royal, the presenters made it clear that, although they did not take issue with the transfer of the community of Cape Spencer to the riding of Saint John for the reasons invoked by the Commission, they took exception to the proposed transfer of the parish of Simonds in its entirety to achieve that objective. They indicated that a line could be drawn to include the community of Cape Spencer and other adjacent communities in the riding of Saint John, thus allowing the larger part of the parish of Simonds to remain in the riding of Fundy Royal, to which they felt a strong sense of belonging.

The Commission agreed and concluded that only a small portion of the parish of Simonds should be transferred to the riding of Saint John. The area to be transferred was in fact part of the riding of Saint John from at least 1996, until it was transferred out of the Saint John riding in 2003. It will be returned to the riding of Saint John as it was in 1996, on grounds of community of interest and convenience.

All presenters from other ridings who addressed the transfer of the portion of Quispamsis to Fundy Royal agreed with the Commission’s proposal. Thus, that part of Quispamsis still in the riding of Saint John will be transferred, as proposed, to the electoral district of Fundy Royal on the basis of community of interest.

The public hearing in Saint John was attended by two interested citizens whom we invited to air their views on the redistribution process. Although their views were not echoed by any other presenters throughout the province, their input is illuminating.

One individual expressed the view that voter parity or representation by population had been entirely ignored by the Commission. This was obvious, in his view, when one compared the population of the proposed riding of Saint John (over 80,000) with that of the riding of Miramichi (53,000). He felt that a vote in Miramichi was therefore accorded much more value than was a vote in Saint John, and encouraged the Commission to strive to improve voter parity.

The other presenter expressed the view that the rural population in Canada was being overrepresented and that the same phenomenon was happening in New Brunswick. In her view, the Commission was missing an opportunity to remedy the situation.

In the final analysis, however, the Commission concluded that the boundary changes to the riding of Saint John and adjacent ridings do in fact accomplish the goal of improving voter parity and effective representation for those who share a community of interest in the city.

The Commission also effected a name change for this electoral district, from Saint John to Saint John—Rothesay, in response to a request from its current member of Parliament. The riding is composed entirely of the two communities, and the Commission sees no reason why the elected representative’s suggestion should not be followed.

2.10 Tobique—Saint John River Valley

  2011 Census / Before
Redistribution
Report
Population 68,709 69,179
Variance from provincial electoral quota (75,117) –8.53% –7.91%
Geographic area 15,952 km2 14,009 km2
Name change From Tobique—Mactaquac

The Commission is changing the name of this electoral district from Tobique—Mactaquac to Tobique—Saint John River Valley. In the Commission’s view, the new name better describes the geography of the riding, which extends down the valley beyond the Mactaquac region to the boundaries of the city of Fredericton. Most of the riding’s population resides along the Saint John River valley, and the Commission deems it appropriate that the name of the riding reflect that fact, despite opposition expressed by some presenters.

The Commission’s initial proposal was to transfer a section of Upper Miramichi from the current riding of Tobique—Mactaquac to Miramichi. This transfer will be maintained, for reasons expressed in section 2.6.

The Commission also proposed to transfer the parishes of Maugerville, Northfield and Sheffield and the village of Minto from the riding of Fredericton to Tobique—Mactaquac. For reasons explained in section 2.3, the Commission reconsidered these changes; the parishes of Maugerville, Northfield and Sheffield and the village of Minto will instead join other ridings.

The communities located north of the city of Fredericton and west of Devon Indian Reserve No. 30, as detailed in section 2.3, will join the electoral district of Tobique—Mactaquac.

The Commission is of the view that the parish of Canterbury, including the village of Canterbury and the community of North Lake, now part of the electoral district of Tobique—Mactaquac, should join the electoral district of New Brunswick Southwest. This transfer is justified for several reasons, including reducing the population of Tobique—Mactaquac, the presence of a greater community of interest with the recipient riding and for historical reasons and geography. Moreover, as far back as 1996, these communities were all part of the electoral district of New Brunswick Southwest; a look at the electoral map could lead one to conclude, for geographical reasons alone, that these communities should be joined with New Brunswick Southwest.





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