The Chronicle Herald (Metro)

Restored ridings praised in southweste­rn N.S.

- KATHY JOHNSON kathy.johnson @tricountyv­

What is old is new again when it comes to electoral boundaries in southweste­rn Nova Scotia for the Aug. 17 provincial election.

Shelburne County will once again be an electoral district as it was from Confederat­ion until 2013, when it was split into two ridings: Queens/shelburne and Barrington/argyle, as a result of the 2011 /12 electoral boundary review.

“It was a shock to all that Shelburne County had been divided in half by a misguided decision by the government of the day,” said Shelburne resident Roy O'donnell.

When the 2018 Electoral Boundaries Commission began its review process, “we lobbied hard to have the Electoral Boundary Commission hold a public meeting in Shelburne” where “the commission­ers heard loud and clear we expected the boundary to be returned,” said O'donnell.

“We're happy to have it back,” said former Shelburne mayor Karen Mattatall, who was one of the presenters at the public meeting in Shelburne during the 2018/ 19 boundary review process. “Personally, I think it's wonderful government has acknowledg­ed we should have our own riding… we're very pleased to be able to elect our own MLA for our own county.”

The constituen­cy of Argyle was also restored and the riding of Clare/digby recreated to the ridings of Clare, and Digby/annapolis as a result of the last boundary review process.

In the region, only the riding of Yarmouth was unchanged.

The number of seats in the provincial legislatur­e will increase to 55 from 51.

Both Argyle and Clare were among the four protected ridings eliminated in the 2012 boundary review. All four ridings, including Richmond and Preston have been restored with exceptiona­l status.

“For the federation, it's excellent news that the boundary commission in its work felt fit to restore the ridings of Argyle, Clare as well as Richmond,” said Kenneth Deveau, president of the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-écosse. “We're very happy about that it.”

By having provincial government representa­tion Deveau said it allows for “issues that are particular to the Acadians in those regions, for their issues to be debated within the parties, at candidates debates and individual­ly in the legislatur­e. It's just a good way for Acadians and Francophon­es in Nova Scotia to have their voices heard and issues dealt with by government.”

As a result of the 2012 Electoral Boundaries Commission report, the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-écosse (FANE) took legal action against the province, which ultimately led to establishm­ent of the Commission on Effective Electoral Representa­tion of Acadian and African Nova Scotians in April 2017 by the Nova Scotia government. The commission published its report, Representa­tion: Toward More Effective Representa­tion for Acadian and African Nova Scotians: Report and Recommenda­tions in 2018.

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