New Or­ford rid­ing a re­sound­ing no

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Staff

Una­nim­ity be­tween Péquistes and Lib­er­als is rare in this prov­ince, but both par­ties are dead set against adding more towns and vil­lages from the Rich­mond rid­ing to the Or­ford rid­ing.

This was what the only jour­nal­ist present at the Val­court hear­ing of the Com­mis­sion de la Représen­ta­tion Élec­torale, held last Wed­nes­day, can re­port. Only fif­teen mem­bers of the elec­tors were present. There was a hockey game at the same time and, when peo­ple must choose be­tween the rights of the peo­ple to be fairly rep­re­sented and those multi-mil­lion­aires on the ice, chas­ing a rub­ber puck, ev­ery­one knows where to be.

The meet­ing is part of the on­go­ing man­dated process to re­view rid­ing’s bor­ders ev­ery sec­ond elec­tion, re­spect­ing some ba­sic fairly ac­cepted rules, one of them be­ing that rid­ings should not be too dis­pro­por­tion­ate in the num­bers of elec­tors.

Marie-Ève Ringuette, the direc­tor gen­eral of Que­bec, true to her ac­coun­tant back­ground, al­most in­un­dated the sparse public with more num­bers than the com­mis­sion could swallow, the public be­fud­dled. Yet, she could prove to the com­mis­sion, headed by the Di­recteur Général des Élec­tions, Mrs. Lu­cie Fiset, that

par­tic­i­pa­tion in towns and vil­lages that are con­stantly shuf­fled drops sig­nif­i­cantly and is well be­low the av­er­age of the rid­ing. Mrs. Fiset is sec­onded by two noted com­mis­sion­ers: Dr. Serge Courville is a ge­og­ra­pher and Dr. Bruno Jean is a so­ci­ol­o­gist.

The last re­draw saw the ad­di­tion of vil­lages east of Mount Or­ford, up to Lawrenceville. This year’s pro­posal would add vil­lages along route 243 to Val­court. As noted by Robert Benoît, the for­mer Lib­eral MNA, it takes more than an hour and fif­teen min­utes to reach Val­court. Not as bad as Mé­gan­ticComp­ton-Stanstead was at the fed­eral level in the 90’s, but close.

Every­body agreed that adding that re­gion bor­dered on the in­sane. From Or­ford, well known Lib­eral en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Jean-Guy Dépôt won­dered why th­ese towns were in­cluded in the rid­ing, sen­ti­ments echoed by all from the con­cerned cities who, while they did not speak as long as Mr. Dépôt, showed the same be­wil­der­ment.

And as the only fe­male con­trib­u­tor was seen hav­ing a long fra­ter­nal chat with for­mer PQ can­di­date Michel Bre­ton, who was sit­ting next to Mr. Benoît and be­hind Mr. Dépôt, and who hails from Lawrenceville and is also against the pro­posal, we can pre­sume that the pro­posal put for­ward by the Com­mis­sion is op­posed by both the gov­ern­ing party and the op­po­si­tion.

Last to speak on the sched­uled list was Mr. Benoit. Or­ford’s MNA for eleven years, knowl­edge­able on the work­ings of th­ese com­mis­sions, his mes­sage was clear: this was not good for Or­ford and worse for the re­gion, he said. He told the com­mis­sion that the rid­ing has changed bound­aries too many times. Mr. Benoît, who told the Stanstead Jour­nal that he had gone to ev­ery meet­ing held when his rid­ing was be­ing re­drawn, doesn’t un­der­stand how the com­mis­sion could have ar­rived at this pro­posal.

But the Di­recteur Général des Élec­tions, Mrs. Lu­cie Fiset, told us that the process was not fi­nal and, as she re­peated time and time over and again, the com­mis­sion is look­ing for pro­pos­als

For­mer Lib­eral MNA Robert Benoît ad­dress­ing the com­mis­sion.

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

Com­mis­sion mem­bers: Ge­or­ga­pher Serge Courville, Lu­cie Fiset and Bruno Jean, a so­ci­ol­o­gist.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.