Federal ridings to be redrawn 0
By Greg Vandermeulen
The Red River Valley Echo
Big changes are in store for the ridings of Portage-Lisgar and Provencher according to the newly proposed electoral map for federal ridings.
Put forward by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission, the process takes place every 10 years.
Commission member Richard Chartier said they took many factors into account when they changed the boundaries.
"Population equity was a big factor for the commission," he said.
"But in redrawing boundaries, we strove to keep communities together and did our utmost to avoid splitting municipalities, aboriginal communities and designated bilingual areas," he said.
Thanks to increased population, the ridings of Portage-Lisgar and Provencher will both change.
The riding will see the loss of a large piece of the northwest corner including the communities of Rossendale, MacGregor and Austin.
On the southwest corner, Portage-Lisgar loses another piece including the communities of Pilot Mound, Clearwater and Crystal City.
Along the north edge, a strip north of the Assiniboine River has also been removed from Portage-Lisgar. That includes the community of St. Francois Xavier.
But Portage-Lisgar is gaining more ground as well. It is expanding east to take in the R.M. of Morris including Sperling, Rosenort and Lowe Farm.
The riding will also extend slightly further north along the east side of Lake Manitoba to include St. Ambroise.
Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Hoeppner remained unavailable to comment on the proposed changes.
Vic Toews' Provencher riding will be considerably smaller geographically. He loses the R.M. of Morris to Portage-Lisgar although he retains the Town of Morris.
The north end of his riding will also move south. Provencher will no longer cover the communities of Pine Falls, Powerview, St. Georges, Pinawa or Lac du Bonnet.
Toews, who has an office in Lac du Bonnet, said it's too early to talk about whether he'll plan a new office outside of his Steinbach area.
He isn't pleased to see one part of the proposal.
"I'm a little concerned about splitting off the R.M. of Morris and the Town of Morris," he said. "It would be my position that it doesn't represent a good analysis of the community's interest."
Political patterns in the new riding are expected to be same as in the old one. Toews said voting patterns show he would have enjoyed just over 70 per cent support in the area of Provencher he retains, dropping only a half per centage point.
Toews isn't surprised to see the physical size of the riding shrink in the proposal.
"It was inevitable that certain parts of Provencher would be removed," he said. "'We had the largest population of any riding."
Toews said it's the success of the riding that has prompted such population growth.
The new boundaries are not set in stone.
Residents are allowed to share their views at six public hearings held from Oct. 9 to Oct. 19 in Winnipeg, Selkirk, Brandon, Dauphin and Thompson.
For more information visit the www.federal-redistribution.ca website.