Electoral Boundaries Commission proposal expands local riding
Come the next provincial election, the riding of Drumheller might rightfully be named Drumheller-Strathmore.
The Electoral Boundaries Commission delivered its interim report last week and recommended some big changes to the local riding.
The proposed boundaries will remove Stettler from the riding, adding Strathmore. This will bump the riding population up from 36,810 to 54,232, a variance of 16 per cent over the provincial average of 46,698. MLA Rick Strankman sees a loss of rural representations. “I look across the province, you look at Vulcan-Taber, for example, it goes all the way from Vulcan, north of Calgary to Cyprus Hills,” he said. “It puts us over the average limit.”
He says that rural politicians have the challenge of geography compared to urban representatives.
“From where I live, it would take three and a half hours to drive to Strathmore,” he said. “It relates to a tone deafness of those who have no consequence for rural based areas. If they want to get equity by population, ultimately the rural areas will pay the penalty for that.”
“I think there should be some leniency to the rural riding because agriculture is such a large economic driver in the province
and that is also where a lot of our oil industry is as well, it’s about representation,” he said.
Bruce McLeod of Acme is an appointee to the Electoral Boundaries Commission and says a decline in the population of the Drumheller-Stettler riding was a considered.
“When we looked at the Drumheller area, and the reduction of the population out there, we had to do something,” he said. “In order to keep it viable, we had to look at other options and part of the option was to put you with Strathmore. It seemed like a good fit. People talking, especially in Drumheller, show we have a more viable trading corridor with Strathmore than they do with anyone else.”
He adds that the commis- sion was hampered by not being able to add any ridings to the existing 87.
“The government should have recognized that we need one in Calgary and One in Edmonton, and that picture would have been a whole lot different than what we did, but we couldn’t change the 87 number,” said McLeod.
He stresses this is an interim report.
“We are doing some consultation in July, people can do written responses to the report up until July 8, and then we will be doing another road trip,” he said. “There will be another consultation.”
He said the final report must be in front of the legislature by October 31.
The Electoral Boundaries Commission has released its interim report and it proposes the addition of Strathmore to the local riding.