Redistribution would strip rural Pontiac of its voting power
In Canada, your vote is your voice and your voice is your power. Unfortunately, that power may be taken from some rural-area Pontiac voters very soon. The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Quebec recently made enormous redistribution proposals to the federal riding of Pontiac.
Under the changes, the municipalities of Low, Denholm, Kazabazua, Lac- Sainte-Marie, and half of the municipality of La Pêche would be transferred to the riding of Laurentides–Labelle from Pontiac.
These proposals would skew the power of Pontiac's rural vote unfavourably, leaving our region with disproportionate results in favor of the big-city populations. Today 32.2% of Québec's population resides in small-town or rural areas. These are no small numbers.
The changes leave rural-Pontiac with less voting power and less influence over who represent them in Ottawa. What’s more, these boundary changes would especially impact Pontiac’s rural-Anglophone population. According to 2016's census, nearly 30,000 constituents residing within the current boundaries of the riding of Pontiac speak English as a first language, over 26% of the riding's population. As a linguistic minority in Québec, Anglophones need to be heard in our elections, not have their voices suppressed. We must equally protect the power of their vote.
These proposals come as a surprise. The incumbent MP for the federal riding of Pontiac, Sophie Chatel, says her office only learned of the proposed changes 29 days before the submission deadline. This means that many constituents were not consulted, nor were they given time to respond. Residents are out of the loop because the Commission has decided to leave them behind. Does this seem fair?
Simply, the Commission’s proposed changes would be counterproductive to the fairness that we Canadians want in our electoral processes. Instead of tarnishing Pontiac’s electoral integrity, let’s represent the population better—the changes to the boundaries of Pontiac just don't cut it.
Pontiac wants district-wide representation that doesn’t exclude one demographic. The Federal Boundaries Commission must rethink its proposals. We cannot take Pontiac backwards. True democracy means fair representation. Let's keep it that way.Mark Buzan, Government Accountability Committee of Pontiac