For Immediate Release
[7 March 2013]
(FREDERICTON, NB) - The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is asking the province’s Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission to re-examine its proposed distribution of ridings in the Capital Region. Andrew Steeves, past president, presented on behalf of the chamber at the Commission’s public hearings at the Delta Fredericton yesterday, 6 March 2013. The chamber is advocating that there are benefits to the entire region with having four ridings wholly within the City of Fredericton.
The chamber’s submission focused on three primary arguments:
- That the most relevant “communities of interest” are communities themselves.
In the Commission’s preliminary report, relatively large parts of the city (parts of Marysville and Nashwaaksis in particular) have been grouped with predominantly rural ridings (Grand Lake and Nashwaaksis-Stanley, respectively). The Commission suggests in its report that being ‘rural’ (or presumably ‘urban’) is not a sufficient ‘community of interest’. The chamber argues that in their day-to-day lives, living in a ‘rural’ or ‘urban’ are is probably the most relevant factor that determines which issues are most important to citizens.
- That both rural and urban areas would have more effective representation if this divide was reflected more clearly in the proposed ridings.
- That by sticking so closely to the electoral quotient of 11,269 in each riding, the Commission has not considering 'the rate of population growth in an area,' which is one of six enumerated 'guiding principles' in the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Act. In short, while staying within +/-5% of the electoral quotient does mean that each vote in the province is relatively equal on “Day One” of the new boundaries taking effect, this equality will be eroded over the life of these boundaries in areas with a higher rate of population growth, such as Fredericton.
The full-text version of the chamber’s submission can be found on our website at www.frederictonchamber.ca.
With more than 900 members, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is one of Atlantic Canada’s largest chambers of commerce. A dynamic and relevant business organization, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is actively engaged in policy development that affects the competitiveness of our members and of the Canadian business environment.
Andrew Steeves, Past President, 454-4473
Morgan Peters, Policy & Research Manager, 451-9742