Boundary proposal falls short: Liberal MHAs
Slade, Crocker might face off for proposed Trinity-Carbonear district
For those expecting a cockfight between two Liberal MHAs after new district boundary proposals could combine their coverage areas, Sam Slade and Steve Crocker say it won’t happen.
Slade, who is the representative for Carbonear-Harbour Grace, could see his district split and redistributed into two other existing districts.
Harbour Grace, Bryant’s Cove and parts of both Spaniard’s Bay and Upper Island Cove would become part of the Port de Grave district, served by PC MHA Glenn Littlejohn. Residents of Carbonear, Victoria and Bristol’s Hope would find themselves in the Trinity-Bay de Verde boundary. Crocker currently represents that region.
Both men, who won byelections a year apart, have confirmed they will seek a seat in the district where their hometowns lie. Slade is from Carbonear, while Crocker is from Heart’s Delight-Islington. This means, if the districts do change according to the proposal put forth by the Electoral Boundaries Commission earlier this month, they will face off for the same Liberal nomination.
Slade and Crocker were a part of each other’s campaign, and they have spoken about their predicament.
“Steve and I get along well,” Slade told The Compass in an exclusive interview last week.
Crocker agreed, noting he is aware some people are already expecting an aggressive approach to earning that nomination.
“I have spoken to Sam myself, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for him,” Crocker said.
“This is not about the MHAs,” Slade said. “It’s about the services you can provide to the people.”
Crocker sang an identical tune.
“This process is not about MHAs or political parties,” he explained. “It’s about how people can best be served by their elected representatives.”
One of the biggest issues Slade has been hearing is displeasure from residents of Harbour Grace that they will be shuffled out of the Carbonear area.
“The people in my district, and certainly the people in Harbour Grace, are very disappointed that this has come down the way it has,” Slade explained.
Crocker agrees that it is odd that Harbour Grace and Carbonear are being split up, seeing they have a strong connection through regional services, in- cluding fire departments working together, sports facilities and schools.
Slade hopes locals will voice their displeasure at the public consultation being held by teleconference at Fongs in Carbonear April 23 at 2 p.m. — an arranagement he is not fond of.
“The people of our area have a right to be heard. They deserve a public hearing with the Boundaries Commission in person, not speaking to a camera.
An uproar rang out on Crocker’s Facebook wall the day the electoral boundary proposals were revealed. Four communities currently in the Trinity-Bay de Verde district — Whiteway, Cavendish, Green’s Harbour and Hopeall — would move to the Placentia-St. Mary’s district.
That’s the issue that seems to be prevalent in Crocker’s district, so much so it prompted a meeting of the leaders of each surrounding community with the MHA Thursday, April 16, to voice their displeasure.
“I’m hearing some concerns, but not too the extent of what I am hearing from the excluded area. People are concerned with the split,” Crocker said.
A public meeting will take place at the Whiteway Community Centre on Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. That comes almost a week before the public consultation event in Whitbourne at the St. John the Baptist Anglican Social Centre with the boundary commission. The meeting, which begins at 3 p.m., will be an in-person meeting,
unlike the one in Carbonear.
Based on population
Commission chair Justice Robert Stack revealed during a webcast last week that the decision on the proposed boundaries came to light based on numerous criteria, but were primarily influenced by population. The entire webcast can be viewed at www.nledbc.ca.
Each region is expected to have some 13,550 residents, give or take 10 per cent. The commission also said they tried to keep people together through similar geographical communities.
The commission is using the census from 2011 to determine current populations. Another census is scheduled for 2016, and Slade believes the changes should wait until those numbers come out.
“We’re after experiencing a population shift,” he said. “If they wait until 2016, then, they’ll be dealing with accurate numbers.”
If the boundaries can’t be determined and approved before the house closes for the summer in mid-June, the current districts will stand for the fall election.
Trinity-Bay de Verde MHA Steve Crocker
CarbonearHarbour Grace MHA Sam Slade