Preparation of the Report – Alberta
Following the public hearings, the Commission reviewed its Proposal, made revisions and prepared this Report for presentation to the House of Commons. This Report sets out the decisions of the Commission concerning the division of Alberta into electoral districts, the descriptions and boundaries of the electoral districts and the population and name to be given to each. This Report will be forwarded to the Chief Electoral Officer no later than February 9, 2023, and he will transmit it to the Speaker of the House of Commons for review by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Any objections filed with that committee by members of the House of Commons will be returned to the Commission for consideration. The Commission will make such changes as it deems necessary and return its final Report to the Chief Electoral Officer for implementation.
Structure of the Report
The remainder of this Report will cover the following topics:
- overview of the public hearings;
- name changes and reasons for them following the public hearings; and
- readjustments to boundaries and reasons for them following the public hearings.
Appendix A provides a list of the 37 electoral districts, together with the population of each and the percentage by which that population deviates from the electoral quota. Appendix B provides the names and descriptions of the 37 electoral districts and includes maps depicting their boundaries.
Overview of the Public Hearings
The Commission received 142 notices of representation for public hearings, although not all registered persons attended. Time permitted presentations from the floor at most of the hearings, resulting in a total of 127 oral presentations; two of these were written statements read into the record at the behest of their authors. This total included presentations by 12 sitting MPs. As indicated previously, the Commission received 511 written submissions from persons and organizations, all of which were considered in the preparation of this Report. The written material ranged from formal submissions with accompanying maps to brief messages. Unfortunately, as will be discussed later in this Report, 171 written submissions were the subject of special concern.
At the public hearings, the Commission thanked the members of the public for their participation and reviewed its statutory mandate under section 15 of the Act. The Commission explained the requirement to seek population parity where reasonably possible, the need to consider the criteria outlined in paragraph 15(1)(b) of the Act and the right to deviate where it was deemed necessary or desirable.
The public hearings provided valuable information about such factors as communities of interest and identity, history and geography in relation to the proposed federal electoral boundaries. At every hearing, the Commission gained local knowledge that aided its deliberations. The Commission's Proposal received both praise and criticism from presenters and correspondents. Many expressed support for the allocation of electoral districts and the low deviations from the electoral quota. Others called on the Commission to structure electoral districts on the basis of community or municipal boundaries. The Commission was mindful of these concerns, but, given the fact that there are many more communities and municipalities than federal electoral districts, it was not always possible to do so.
It was made clear to the Commission on numerous occasions that the principle of voter parity should be balanced at times by the factors of community of interest, community of identity and historical patterns to ensure more effective voter representation. Black Gold School Division Superintendent of Schools Bill Romanchuk expressed this sentiment well when he made the following statement:
By deviating from strict population parity and giving due consideration to the community of interest and historical patterns, we believe the Commission can better ensure effective voter representation, while respecting the sense of belonging and community interest of the residents in our region.
In its Proposal, the Commission proposed three new electoral districts. These were Calgary McKnight in the City of Calgary, Spruce Grove—Leduc and Airdrie—Chestermere, which were adjacent to the City of Edmonton and City of Calgary, respectively.
Questions were raised regarding all three proposed electoral districts. The Commission has responded by reconfiguring those districts, as will be explained later in this Report.
Most other electoral districts were the subject of suggestions for change, all of which were considered by the Commission. These will also be discussed further in this Report.
Following the hearings and receipt of all the written submissions, the Commission reviewed the electoral districts and revisited many of the electoral boundaries. As a result of the constructive input received, the Commission has made changes to all but one electoral district. Thirty-one of the proposed electoral districts remain within 5%, plus or minus, of the electoral quota. The six that do not are all within 10%, plus or minus, of the electoral quota.
Name Changes and Reasons Following the Public Hearings
Several name changes were suggested for electoral districts that were otherwise unobjectionable.
In Calgary, the proposed name of Calgary Crowchild is to be changed to Calgary Crowfoot, which is more closely identified with the electoral district and which honours the area's Indigenous heritage. The Commission, on its own initiative, has decided to change Calgary Forest Lawn back to its historical name, Calgary East, to better reflect the entirety of that electoral district.
The names of two of the proposed electoral districts in Edmonton, Edmonton Winterburn and Edmonton Mill Woods, are changed to Edmonton Northwest and Edmonton Southeast, respectively, to better represent their geographic reality. The name of the Sturgeon River electoral district is also changed to St. Albert—Sturgeon River.
The names of other proposed electoral districts are changed owing to their substantial reconfiguration. Airdrie—Chestermere no longer exists. The City of Airdrie has been combined with the Town of Cochrane and surrounding area to form the new electoral district of Airdrie—Cochrane. Chestermere returns to the electoral district of Bow River, where it is currently.
Similarly, the name Canmore—Cochrane—Olds is rendered redundant with the above change as well as a change to move Canmore into the reconfigured electoral district of Jasper—Banff—Canmore. Olds becomes part of the newly reconfigured electoral district of Ponoka—Didsbury.
The name Sherwood Park—Beaumont became redundant as a result of the Commission's decision to reinstate the existing electoral district of Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan and with the City of Beaumont being moved to the newly named electoral district of Leduc—Wetaskiwin. Spruce Grove—Leduc also became redundant owing to a realignment that places Leduc County with Wetaskiwin County in the revised electoral district of Leduc—Wetaskiwin. With a reduction in size and a shift eastward, the remaining portion of the Yellowhead electoral district has been named Parkland.
|Name in Proposal||Final Report Name|
|Calgary Crowchild||Calgary Crowfoot|
|Calgary Forest Lawn||Calgary East|
|Edmonton Mill Woods||Edmonton Southeast|
|Edmonton Winterburn||Edmonton Northwest|
|Sherwood Park—Beaumont||Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan|
|Sturgeon River||St. Albert—Sturgeon River|
Readjustments to Boundaries and Reasons Following the Public Hearings
City of Calgary
Calgary's population in 2021 was 1,306,784, or 209,951 more than it was 10 years earlier. The highest growth took place in the existing electoral districts of Calgary Rocky Ridge (renamed Calgary Crowchild in the Proposal and Calgary Crowfoot in this Report), Calgary Skyview and Calgary Shepard, which run almost continuously from the northwest to the southeast sectors of the city. The exception was the Calgary Forest Lawn electoral district (now renamed Calgary East), which underwent a small decline in population. Together, these four districts made up 44% of Calgary's population. Other Calgary electoral districts experienced more modest changes. Accommodating the changes necessitated making adjustments to all of Calgary's 10 existing electoral districts; their average population was 130,678, which was more than 13% above Alberta's electoral quota.
In its Proposal, the Commission recommended the creation of one new electoral district, Calgary McKnight, in the densely populated northeast sector of the city; it was composed of the northeastern portion of the existing Calgary Forest Lawn electoral district and the southeastern part of the current Calgary Skyview electoral district. The name Calgary McKnight was proposed because McKnight Boulevard is a major roadway that traverses the district from west to east. It honours William Lidstone McKnight, a Calgary aviator and hero of the Battle of Britain in the Second World War.
The proposed Calgary McKnight electoral district provided a means to balance the populations and anticipated future growth of the other electoral districts. The Commission considered and rejected the idea of increasing the total number of electoral districts in Calgary to 12. Were this to have been done, the average population of each district would have been 108,899, or 5.47% below the electoral quota. The Commission concluded that this would be unfair to the rest of the province. All electoral districts remain within the Calgary city limits.
The Commission proposed that the northeastern boundary of the existing Calgary Rocky Ridge electoral district be drawn along Symons Valley Road NW, where it would share a boundary with an expanded Calgary Skyview electoral district. Calgary Skyview would extend further west, along the northern boundary of a redrawn Calgary Nose Hill electoral district, and south to a proposed boundary with the Calgary McKnight electoral district through the community of Saddle Ridge. Under the Proposal, the northwestern boundary of the Calgary Forest Lawn electoral district moved north to McKnight Boulevard NE, while the northeastern boundary shifted south to 16 Avenue NE; its southern boundary was then repositioned further south, where it followed an adjusted boundary with the Calgary Shepard electoral district. This was done to increase the population of the Calgary Forest Lawn electoral district. Limiting the size of the Calgary Shepard electoral district through changes to its northern boundary with Calgary Forest Lawn, and maintaining its western boundary with the Calgary Midnapore electoral district, would reduce the geographic size of the district to lower its population and allow for future growth.
The Commission proposed that the Calgary Heritage and Calgary Midnapore electoral districts be realigned in an east-west direction rather than their previous north-south orientation. It also proposed to move the northern boundary of the Calgary Nose Hill electoral district south, to be nearer to Nose Hill Park; east, to make it follow Deerfoot Trail NE; and southwest, toward Crowchild Trail NW and Charleswood Drive NW, readjusting its boundary with the Calgary Confederation electoral district. The Calgary Centre and Calgary Signal Hill electoral districts were also modified to bring their populations into balance with those of other districts.
Following its public hearings and the subsequent correspondence received, the Commission has made no changes to the boundaries of the proposed Calgary Shepard electoral district and a very minor adjustment to the boundaries of the renamed electoral district of Calgary Crowfoot, which has not changed its population. However, the Commission has made more substantive changes to the remaining Calgary electoral districts.
The Commission has acted on concerns expressed by residents and representatives of the Calgary Heritage and Calgary Midnapore electoral districts by re-establishing those districts with a north-south alignment. The dividing boundary at the centre of these two electoral districts uses Macleod Trail. The community of Kingsland is moved to Calgary Midnapore, while the communities of Millrise and that portion of Shawnessy found north of 162 Avenue SW and 162 Avenue SE are moved to the Calgary Heritage electoral district. These changes achieve comparable population size between the two electoral districts and provide for more balanced future growth.
The Commission has agreed to a request made by the Killarney-Glengarry Community Association to locate the entire community in the Calgary Centre electoral district. The Commission's Proposal had split the community between the Calgary Signal Hill and Calgary Centre electoral districts. As well, the Commission has added a small section of the Richmond community north of Richmond Road SW to the Calgary Centre electoral district because Richmond Road SW is used as a boundary. To accommodate the changes to the Calgary Centre electoral district, the Commission has made an additional change to the eastern boundary of the Calgary Signal Hill electoral district. The Proposal had used Bow Trail SW and 37 Street SW as a boundary; this divided the communities of Rosscarrock and Shaganappi between the Calgary Signal Hill electoral district and the Calgary Centre electoral district. These communities are now included in the Calgary Signal Hill electoral district in their entirety.
In response to representations from residents and community representatives, the Commission has moved the northern boundary of the Calgary Confederation electoral district to Shaganappi Trail NW and Crowchild Trail NW. This change reunites the communities of Collingwood, Charleswood and Brentwood in the electoral district of Calgary Confederation. To facilitate this change, the Commission has extended the southeastern boundary of the Calgary Nose Hill electoral district to 32 Avenue NW, adding the communities of Highwood, Queens Park Village, Highland Park, those portions of the Greenview and Thorncliffe communities lying south of McKnight Boulevard NE, McKnight Boulevard NW and the majority of the Greenview Industrial Park. Additionally, the Commission has adjusted the northern boundary of Calgary Nose Hill to encompass the community of Hidden Valley in the district as it had been split under the Proposal by the use of Beddington Trail NW as a boundary.
The Commission received numerous representations from community representatives and organizations, urging it to keep the northeast sector of Calgary together in two electoral districts, Calgary Skyview and the renamed Calgary East, consisting of closely connected communities with shared interests and priorities. Some argued that the Commission should base the electoral districts on the City of Calgary municipal wards, of which there are 14. However, the Commission had only 11 electoral districts with which to work, making compromise inevitable. The Commission had proposed three electoral districts for the northeast: Calgary Skyview, Calgary Forest Lawn and Calgary McKnight. The two electoral districts recommended by the groups would be located east of Deerfoot Trail, north of Glenmore Trail SE and bounded by Calgary's eastern and northern city limits, with a shared boundary at McKnight Boulevard NE. The groups suggested that a new electoral district should be located west of Deerfoot Trail. However, the recommended changes could not be accomplished without making substantial alterations to the boundaries of many other electoral districts in Calgary. Creating a new electoral district west of Deerfoot Trail would also force that district to absorb most of the anticipated population growth already underway in the northwestern and north-central portions of the city. For these reasons, the Commission did not accept the groups' recommendations.
However, the Commission has made some modifications in response to the groups' concerns. It has added the Calgary International Airport, an important economic hub with close ties to adjacent communities, to the Calgary McKnight electoral district. It has also modified the boundary between the Calgary Skyview and the Calgary McKnight electoral districts by adding more of the densely populated Saddle Ridge community to Calgary McKnight. It has agreed to a request for a small change to the southwestern boundary of the Calgary McKnight district, adding the communities of Horizon, Sunridge, North Airways, South Airways, Pegasus and McCall to make it easier to secure office space for election administration purposes.
The Commission heard from residents of Coventry Hills, Country Hills, Country Hills Village, Harvest Hills and Panorama Hills, which comprise the Northern Hills Community Association, who wanted to be kept together in a single electoral district. With a combined approximate population of 57,208, the five communities are too large to fit into one electoral district without changing the boundaries of others. The Commission has done what it can to meet the residents' concerns by grouping the communities of Country Hills and Harvest Hills together in the Calgary Nose Hill electoral district and the communities of Panorama Hills, Country Hills Village and Coventry Hills in the Calgary Skyview electoral district. This leaves the Calgary Skyview electoral district with an approximate population of 42,435 east of Deerfoot Trail NE and approximately 72,918 west of Deerfoot Trail NE.
The current electoral district of Banff—Airdrie includes Banff National Park (Improvement District No. 9, Banff) in its entirety and stretches to the area east of Airdrie. It has a population of 155,580, the fifth largest in Canada. This situation necessitated significant redrawing of electoral boundaries. In its Proposal, the Commission separated Banff from Canmore, with the result that Banff was reunited with Jasper in the Yellowhead electoral district. The Banff—Airdrie electoral district was reconfigured, with Canmore in the southwest, Cochrane to the southeast and Didsbury and Olds in the north, and it was named Canmore—Cochrane—Olds. The Commission also created a new electoral district named Airdrie—Chestermere, which included the cities of Airdrie and Chestermere. These cities are located to the north and east, respectively, of the City of Calgary.
There was widespread criticism of both proposed electoral districts. In the case of Canmore—Cochrane—Olds, the Commission received numerous submissions and heard many oral presentations at its hearings that were strongly in favour of keeping Canmore and Banff together in the same electoral district. As mayor Sean Krausert of the Town of Canmore stated, "Canmore and Banff may be two municipalities, but we are very much one community." He pointed out that, within the Bow Valley, the two municipalities work together on numerous initiatives, ranging from public transit to the environment. Other presenters made similar arguments.
After hearing the presentations and reading the submissions, the Commission agreed, and it has repositioned Canmore so that it is in the same electoral district as Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. The Yellowhead electoral district has been shifted east and now forms the reconfigured district, named Parkland, as will be explained below in the discussion of Edmonton Region.
The reconfigured electoral district, renamed Jasper—Banff—Canmore, also includes the communities of Carstairs, Crossfield, Edson, Hinton, Rocky Mountain House, Sundre, Caroline and Cremona. Also included are Improvement District No. 12 Jasper Park, Improvement District No. 25 Willmore Wilderness, Improvement District No. 9 Banff and Kananaskis Improvement District, together with the Indian Reserves of Big Horn No. 144A, O'Chiese No. 203, Stoney No. 142, 143, 144, Stoney No. 142B and Sunchild No. 202. Owing to its recreational nature, the Kananaskis Improvement District has been moved from the Foothills electoral district, which is predominantly agriculturally based, into the Jasper—Banff—Canmore electoral district.
Many submissions and representations were critical of Cochrane and Airdrie being separated into two electoral districts. These came from both the City of Airdrie and the Town of Cochrane as well as their respective Chambers of Commerce. The common theme was that the two centres have a similar historical background and strong business and social connections. Likewise, it was pointed out that both Cochrane and Airdrie face common growth pressures and would benefit from being represented collectively as a key economic growth engine within the region.
It was stressed that the City of Airdrie has few common interests with the City of Chestermere. The only presenter who spoke about Chestermere supported it remaining in the electoral district of Bow River. As a result, the Commission has withdrawn that proposed electoral district and created the new electoral district of Airdrie—Cochrane, with those two communities as its core. The City of Chestermere is to remain in the Bow River electoral district, where it is currently located.
The Town of Olds, which was at that northern end of the proposed Canmore—Cochrane—Olds electoral district, has now been placed in the redrawn and renamed electoral district of Ponoka—Didsbury, which includes the towns southwest of the City of Red Deer—namely, Didsbury, Olds, Innisfail and Bowden. There had been strong criticism from representatives of Innisfail and Bowden that it was inappropriate for those two towns to be placed in the northwestern corner of the proposed large, rural electoral district of Bow River because they had little in common with that electoral district and much more in common with the City of Red Deer.
The Commission decided that the population of the electoral district of Red Deer was already too large to accommodate these communities. They will be well served within the Ponoka—Didsbury electoral district, which shares a boundary with the electoral district of Red Deer. This will be discussed in more detail later in this Report.
City of Edmonton
The decennial-census population count for the City of Edmonton grew from 812,201 in 2011 to 1,010,899 in 2021. At the time of the 2021 census, there were nine electoral districts covering the City of Edmonton, two of which were hybrid electoral districts. These were St. Albert—Edmonton, which included the City of St. Albert, and Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, which included communities south of Edmonton. The population of these nine electoral districts was 1,179,819 in the 2021 census.
In the Proposal, the Commission was able to create nine electoral districts, totally within the Edmonton city limits, without requiring hybrid electoral districts. The average population of the proposed electoral districts in Edmonton is 112,322, or 2.50% below the province's electoral quota. Had the Commission proposed only eight electoral districts for the City of Edmonton, the average population would have been 126,362. This figure was larger than the population of any electoral district contained in the Proposal and was simply too great a departure from the electoral quota, with no circumstances to justify it.
As will be explained later in this Report, the Commission, after submitting its Proposal, was persuaded to reinstate the current electoral district of Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, notwithstanding its population of 126,313. This decision, however, was a very unusual circumstance.
The Commission, in its generally well received Proposal, made changes to all the electoral districts in Edmonton, some more substantial than others.
In the Proposal, the Edmonton Manning electoral district was extended southwest and its western boundary east. This allowed for the electoral district of Edmonton Griesbach to extend north to the city limits, to share future population growth, and its western boundary to move east; some neighbourhoods were relocated to the Edmonton Winterburn electoral district (now renamed Edmonton Northwest). Edmonton Winterburn was expanded under the Proposal south and further east to replace the population lost from St. Albert. The northern boundary of the Edmonton West electoral district was moved south, its northeastern boundary moved east to the North Saskatchewan River and its southeastern boundary extended across the river to encompass the majority of the Windermere community.
In the core of the city, the electoral district of Edmonton Centre was expanded east, while the electoral district of Edmonton Strathcona had a few communities south of Whitemud Drive NW added, extending its southwestern boundary.
The Edmonton Riverbend electoral district was expanded south to the city limits. The electoral district of Edmonton Mill Woods (now renamed Edmonton Southeast) was reconfigured as the population had increased substantially; its western boundary was moved east and its southern boundary south to the city limits.
The Commission's Proposal reconfigured the electoral district of Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, moving all areas south of the City of Edmonton into the new electoral district of Spruce Grove—Leduc or into Sherwood Park—Beaumont. The portion of the electoral district that remained within the City of Edmonton's city limits was divided amongst the three southernmost electoral districts of Edmonton Riverbend, Edmonton Southeast and Edmonton Gateway to help shoulder the future growth taking place in the southern part of Edmonton. The present electoral district of Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, which had previously shouldered all the growth in south Edmonton and beyond, had grown to have the largest population of any electoral district in Canada; this issue needed to be addressed, and the Commission has done so.
With the exception of numerous requests for substantial change to the Proposal for the electoral district of Edmonton Griesbach, the remaining electoral districts in Edmonton received some, but not many, requests for change. The electoral district of Edmonton Winterburn (renamed Edmonton Northwest) received a number of supportive submissions, as did the electoral district of Edmonton West. The other electoral districts in Edmonton received suggestions for minor revisions.
In response to the presentations made at the public hearings and the submissions received, the Commission has made the following modifications to the Proposal.
The eastern boundary of the Edmonton Centre electoral district has been moved west to allow the communities of McCauley, Boyle Street, Parkdale, Cromdale and Alberta Avenue to be grouped together into the electoral district of Edmonton Griesbach. There was a strong desire expressed in the submissions received to keep the above-mentioned communities together. Communities were added to Edmonton Centre from the electoral district of Edmonton Northwest in two areas: Calder, Kensington and Athlone, found north of Yellowhead Trail NW, and Mayfield, Britannia Youngstown and Glenwood, found west of 156 Street NW.
Three changes have been made to the electoral district of Edmonton Gateway since the Proposal was written. First, the community of Twin Brooks, once divided between the Edmonton Riverbend electoral district and the Edmonton Gateway electoral district, is now located entirely within the Edmonton Riverbend electoral district. Second, the Desrochers Area, Heritage Valley Areafootnote 1 and Heritage Valley Town Centre Areafootnote 2 have also been added to that electoral district. Third, the western portion of the community of Duggan has been moved out of the electoral district of Edmonton Gateway and placed in the electoral district of Edmonton Strathcona. It was submitted to the Commission that the communities of Duggan and Rideau Park are affiliated and share a community league but had been divided. The Commission agreed and has reunited these communities.
The electoral district of Edmonton Griesbach received the most submissions for change. Many submissions requested that the community of Riverdale be removed from the electoral district of Edmonton Strathcona and added to the electoral district of Edmonton Griesbach. The Commission considered this move to be reasonable and has done so. The Commission also agreed with the numerous submissions that asked for the communities of Beverley Heights, Bergman, Beacon Heights, Abbottsfield and Rundle Heights to be added to the electoral district of Edmonton Griesbach. The communities of Alberta Avenue, Parkdale and Cromdale, which had been split between the electoral districts of Edmonton Griesbach and Edmonton Centre in the Proposal, have been reunited and are now placed in their entirety in the electoral district of Edmonton Griesbach. The Commission has removed communities from the northern part of the proposed Edmonton Griesbach electoral district, moving the communities of Lago Lindo, Klarvatten and the majority of Ozerna into the electoral district of Edmonton Manning and the communities of Elsinore, Baturyn, Lorelei, Beaumaris, Chambery and Canossa into the electoral district of Edmonton Northwest.
In addition to the communities of Lago Lindo, Klarvatten and the majority of Ozerna being added to the electoral district of Edmonton Manning, a representation was made to include the communities of Eaux Claires, Belle Rive and Mayliewan. However, due to the population density of these communities, the Commission concluded that it was not feasible to do so.
The electoral district of Edmonton Mill Woods has been renamed Edmonton Southeast as it is more inclusive of the entire area covered by that electoral district. A very minor adjustment has been made to the boundaries of this electoral district, but the change did not impact its population.
The electoral district now named Edmonton Northwest has been reduced along its southeastern boundary, with six communities being moved to the Edmonton Centre electoral district. The electoral district's northeastern boundary has been extended east to 97 Street NW to include the communities of Elsinore, Baturyn, Lorelei, Beaumaris, Chambery and Canossa.
The electoral district of Edmonton West, which in the Proposal crossed the North Saskatchewan River to include the majority of the Windermere community, was very well received. The Commission has made one very minor change to the southeastern boundary by including one small section of land that is the remaining part of the Windermere community.
The region surrounding Edmonton grew significantly between the 2011 and the 2021 decennial censuses. As explained earlier, the Commission in its Proposal recommended that the two Edmonton hybrid electoral districts, St. Albert—Edmonton and Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, be eliminated.
The Commission in its Proposal assigned the City of St. Albert to the existing electoral district of Sturgeon River—Parkland. This had the effect of placing St. Albert in the same electoral district as other francophone communities north of Edmonton, including Legal, Morinville and Bon Accord. Since only a small portion of Parkland County remained in this reconfigured electoral district, the Commission proposed renaming it simply Sturgeon River.
This proposed electoral district was widely applauded. However, there were two suggestions made. The first was that the name should be changed to reflect the inclusion of the City of St. Albert, which is Alberta's oldest community. The Commission agreed and has renamed the electoral district St. Albert—Sturgeon River.
The second proposed change was to move the towns of Redwater and Gibbons from the electoral district of Lakeland to the renamed St. Albert—Sturgeon River electoral district. The mayor of Redwater gave an oral presentation, arguing that those two communities are in Sturgeon County and should be relocated as they are a more natural fit. He pointed out that those communities' access to the Lakeland electoral district is cut off in the southeast by the North Saskatchewan River. This request was supported by way of a submission from the mayor of the Town of Bon Accord. The Commission accepted this and has moved both towns into the St. Albert—Sturgeon River electoral district.
The hybrid electoral district of Edmonton—Wetaskiwin had a 2021 decennial-census population of 209,431, making it the largest of any electoral district in Canada. Most of this population increase occurred in the portion of the electoral district that was annexed to the City of Edmonton in January 2019. This dramatic population growth has necessitated a reconfiguration of the electoral districts located to the south and east of the City of Edmonton.
To the east of Edmonton, the electoral district of Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan had increased to 126,313, or 9.64% over the electoral quota. In order to better align the population of this electoral district with the electoral quota, the Commission in its Proposal recommended that Fort Saskatchewan be moved to the electoral district of Lakeland. Sherwood Park and the City of Beaumont would then be combined into a new electoral district, Sherwood Park—Beaumont, which would have a population of 115,265. The City of Leduc, the City of Spruce Grove and the Town of Stony Plain would then be placed in the new electoral district of Spruce Grove—Leduc, which would have a population of 116,543.
It became clear to the Commission, both from the written submissions received and from several presentations made during the course of the public hearings, that the proposed electoral district of Sherwood Park—Beaumont was opposed not only by representatives of Sherwood Park, Strathcona County and the City of Fort Saskatchewan on the one hand but also by the City of Beaumont, Leduc County and many more on the other. Their objections mirrored one another. That is to say, there was little in the way of community of interest or community of identity existing between the City of Beaumont on the one hand and Strathcona County and Sherwood Park on the other.
Representatives of Sherwood Park urged the Commission to retain the existing electoral district in order to maintain the community of interest and community of identity existing amongst Strathcona County, Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan. The Commission pointed out that this would result in the electoral district of Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan having a population of 126,313, which is 9.64% above the electoral quota. The presenters explained that they were quite prepared to have a larger population as a fair exchange for maintaining the existing boundaries of Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan as that decision would result in more effective representation for those communities. After consideration, the Commission accepted these representations and has reinstated the existing electoral district of Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
To the south of Edmonton, the Commission heard presentations from the City of Beaumont and Leduc County, amongst others. The suggestion that emerged from these presentations and written submissions was that the most appropriate electoral district for that region would consist of Leduc County, Wetaskiwin County and Maskwacis. This would result in an electoral district with a decennial-census population of 114,237. Owing to the strong ties amongst Leduc County, Wetaskiwin County and Maskwacis, the Commission accepted this suggestion. Since the City of Beaumont is located within Leduc County, it is now included in the same electoral district as the City of Leduc, the hamlet and industrial business park of Nisku and the Edmonton International Airport. This reconfigured electoral district is named Leduc—Wetaskiwin.
As a result of the creation of the electoral district of Leduc—Wetaskiwin, the City of Spruce Grove and the Town of Stony Plain were no longer contained within what had been recommended in the Proposal as the electoral district of Spruce Grove—Leduc. The Commission heard several presenters claim that there are few commonalities between Spruce Grove and Stony Plain on the one hand and Leduc County on the other. More than one presenter cited the North Saskatchewan River as being not only a physical barrier but also a psychological barrier. The Commission recognized the need to maintain the City of Spruce Grove and the Town of Stony Plain within the same electoral district. This is accomplished by merging these communities, along with Parkland County, Brazeau County, a portion of Lac Ste. Anne County (found west of Range Road 75) and the northeastern portion of Yellowhead County into the existing Yellowhead electoral district. This reconfigured electoral district has been renamed Parkland. Its 2021 decennial-census population was 114,679.
Red Deer and Region
Currently, the City of Red Deer is divided into two hybrid electoral districts: Red Deer—Lacombe to the north and Red Deer—Mountain View to the south. Splitting the City of Red Deer into two hybrid electoral districts was unpopular with its residents. Accordingly, the Commission in its Proposal recommended a modified Red Deer electoral district, one that included the City of Red Deer in its entirety as well as a portion of the current Red Deer—Mountain View electoral district. The proposal to reunite the City of Red Deer within one electoral district was received very favourably.
The Commission heard presentations from representatives from Bowden and Innisfail, objecting to their towns' location in the northwest corner of the proposed enlarged Bow River electoral district. Both towns wanted to be included in an expanded Red Deer electoral district.
Another presenter from the Town of Olds expressed concern that Olds was located in the same electoral district as Canmore, pointing out that Olds has more in common with the City of Red Deer and "our neighbours in Innisfail, Bowden and the rural areas surrounding us." Olds is largely an agricultural community, whereas Canmore is a mountain recreational and tourist area.
Unfortunately, the population numbers do not permit Olds, Innisfail and Bowden all to be included in the electoral district of Red Deer. The City of Red Deer itself had a 2021 decennial-census population of 100,844. The total 2021 decennial-census population of Red Deer County, including the City of Red Deer, was 151,247.
In order to maintain the clearly expressed community of interest amongst Didsbury, Olds, Bowden and Innisfail, the Commission has reconfigured the proposed electoral district of Wetaskiwin—Lacombe into an electoral district that surrounds the northern, western and partial southern boundaries of the Red Deer electoral district. It is named Ponoka—Didsbury and includes, as the name implies, the bulk of Ponoka County at its northern end and runs south to the Town of Didsbury and its surrounding area. It had a 2021 decennial-census population of 114,521.
The boundaries of the electoral district of Red Deer have been adjusted slightly as follows. The southern boundary for the proposed Red Deer electoral district followed Highway 590. The electoral district now maintains its southern boundary along Highway 590 up to Range Road 263, where it then turns south and follows the southerly limit of Red Deer County to the county's eastern limit. This change will also allow the Village of Elnora to be relocated from the proposed Bow River electoral district and placed instead within the reconfigured Red Deer electoral district. A small change has also been made to the northern boundary to allow the area lying northeast of the City of Red Deer, and bounded by the Red Deer River to the north and east of it, to be moved into the Red Deer electoral district.
Eastern Central Alberta
In its Proposal, the Commission had significantly reconfigured the southwestern boundary of the Lakeland electoral district so that the district would include the City of Fort Saskatchewan. Lakeland's southern boundary had been moved north and mainly followed the Yellowhead Highway. As a result, Vegreville and Lloydminster were no longer within the Lakeland electoral district but rather included in the proposed revised electoral district of Battle River—Crowfoot.
There were several objections to the proposed reconfiguration of the Lakeland electoral district. A number of presenters objected to the City of Fort Saskatchewan being included in a predominantly rural electoral district. There was also strong opposition to the Commission's Proposal to move the southern boundary northward. Presenters urged instead that the existing southern boundary be reinstated. It was pointed out to the Commission that there are some significant differences between the electoral districts of Lakeland and Battle River—Crowfoot. The Commission has accepted these suggestions, and, as has already been indicated, returned the City of Fort Saskatchewan to the existing Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan electoral district. The Commission has also readjusted the southern boundary of the Lakeland electoral district to accord with where it is currently. As a result, Vegreville and Lloydminster will remain in the electoral district of Lakeland.
With respect to the electoral district of Battle River—Crowfoot, the Commission had proposed to move its northern boundary to be defined, for the most part, by the Yellowhead Highway. This, of course, was opposed in the presentations made on behalf of the Lakeland electoral district, which the Commission has accepted and revised accordingly. At one of the hearings, Jordon Christianson, chair of the Special Areas Board, pointed out that Special Areas are a unique form of government. The Special Areas Board administers Special Areas Nos. 2, 3 and 4 together as a single municipal region. He urged that they be kept together within one electoral district, preferably Battle River—Crowfoot.
In addition, the Commission was advised by the mayors of Drumheller and Hanna that they wanted their respective towns to be removed from the proposed revised electoral district of Bow River and returned to the Battle River—Crowfoot electoral district, where those communities are currently located. Furthermore, the mayor of Hanna specifically asked that Hanna remain in the same electoral district as Special Areas Nos. 2, 3 and 4 due to the partnerships that Hanna has with them. The Commission accepted these suggestions and has extended the southern boundary of the electoral district of Battle River—Crowfoot to Cypress County to include the three Special Areas. Hanna and Drumheller will remain in the Battle River—Crowfoot electoral district.
In its Proposal, the Commission moved the Bow River electoral district north and east to the Alberta-Saskatchewan border and northwest to include the towns of Innisfail and Bowden. A number of communities currently in the Bow River electoral district were proposed to be reassigned to other electoral districts.
Chestermere, Beiseker and Irricana were proposed to be reassigned to the new Airdrie—Chestermere electoral district and the Town of Vulcan moved to the electoral district of Foothills. A number of other communities were proposed to be added to the Bow River electoral district, including Drumheller, Hanna, Innisfail, Bowden, Oyen, Three Hills, Youngstown, Trochu, Barons, Nobleford and Picture Butte. Concerns regarding this configured electoral district were numerous.
The Commission heard presentations from Barons, Nobleford and Picture Butte, urging that they should be included in the same electoral district as the City of Lethbridge rather than in the Bow River electoral district.
The Commission considered that there was much merit to these submissions. Therefore, Barons, Nobleford and Picture Butte have been added to the enlarged electoral district of Lethbridge, as will be explained later, and, as noted above, Innisfail and Bowden are combined with Olds and Didsbury in the same electoral district of Ponoka—Didsbury. As a result of extending the southern boundary of the Battle River—Crowfoot electoral district to Cypress County, the Bow River electoral district no longer extends to the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. Its geographical size has been significantly reduced from what had been suggested in the Proposal.
In its Proposal, the Commission had relocated the southern portion of the Municipal District of Taber from the electoral district of Bow River to that of Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner. However, in light of the significant reduction in size of the Bow River electoral district, the Commission has decided to retain the Municipal District of Taber within that electoral district. This also means that the Town of Taber and the Village of Barnwell will be moved back into the Bow River electoral district. The electoral district of Bow River continues to have Chestermere included within its boundaries as a result of the Commission's decision to dismantle the Airdrie—Chestermere electoral district. Beiseker and Irricana remain in the Bow River electoral district as well.
In the Proposal, the Commission had moved the western boundary of the Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner electoral district eastward so that the Blood Indian Reserves Nos. 148 and 148A would be located within the Foothills electoral district. This would put them in the same electoral district as Piikani Nation, Eden Valley Indian Reserve No. 216 and Tsuu T'ina First Nation. The proposed northeastern boundary of that electoral district was also moved south to Township Road 150, causing the northern portion of Cypress County to be placed in the proposed Bow River electoral district.
With respect to the electoral district of Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, the Commission heard presenters urge that all Cypress County should be included. Cypress County contains the military base at Suffield, which has very close economic and other ties to the City of Medicine Hat. The Commission was advised that there are fewer than 1,000 people living in that portion of Cypress County. The Commission accepted that recommendation and has extended the northeastern boundary of the Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner electoral district to be coterminous with the northern boundary of Cypress County.
As discussed in its Proposal, the Commission has expanded the electoral district of Foothills eastward at its southeastern boundary to include the Blood Indian Reserves Nos. 148 and 148A. Also, as mentioned previously, the Kananaskis Improvement District has been relocated from the electoral district of Foothills and placed in the reconfigured electoral district of Jasper—Banff—Canmore. Finally, a very minor change has been made to the southeastern portion of this electoral district since the Proposal was written. In accordance with the Commission's effort to keep municipalities together when reasonably possible, a small portion of Improvement District No. 4 Waterton, which had been included in the electoral district of Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner under the Proposal, is now included with the balance of that Improvement District in the Foothills electoral district. After these changes, the 2021 decennial-census population of the Foothills electoral district is 114,930, which represents a slight decrease from the population in the Proposal.
In the Proposal, the Commission recommended that the electoral district of Lethbridge be reduced in geographical size by moving its northern boundary south to the Oldman River. The City of Lethbridge and the outlying communities of Coaldale and Coalhurst would remain within the electoral district. This was necessitated, in the Commission's view, by the substantial population growth of the City of Lethbridge.
As mentioned previously in discussing the electoral district of Bow River, the Commission received presentations and submissions from Barons, Nobleford and Picture Butte, arguing against their inclusion in the Bow River electoral district and for their strong preference to be included in the same electoral district as the City of Lethbridge. When the Commission pointed out that the 2021 decennial-census population of the existing Lethbridge electoral district was 123,847, which was some 7.5% above the electoral quota, several presenters were quite prepared to accept the higher population figure as a suitable trade-off for more effective representation. After considerable deliberation, the Commission accepted these presentations and submissions and has redrawn the electoral district of Lethbridge to include the entire County of Lethbridge, which includes Coalhurst, Nobleford, Barons, Picture Butte and Coaldale as well as the entire City of Lethbridge.
In 2012, northern Alberta was divided into three electoral districts: Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, Peace River—Westlock and Fort McMurray—Cold Lake. The Commission in its Proposal supported this configuration, albeit with some changes. As noted in the Proposal, the City of Grande Prairie had grown substantially since the 2011 decennial census. To accommodate this growth, the Commission proposed that the northern boundary of Grande Prairie—Mackenzie end at the northern limits of Northern Lights County and Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement. Since Mackenzie County was no longer included in the reconfigured electoral district, the Commission recommended changing the name of the electoral district to Grande Prairie.
The Commission noted that the electoral district of Peace River—Westlock had declined slightly in population between 2011 and 2021. Accordingly, the Commission proposed that Mackenzie County be included in this electoral district. This change brought the population of the two proposed electoral districts of Grande Prairie and Peace River—Westlock into closer alignment. The Commission also made small adjustments to the proposed Peace River—Westlock electoral district at its southern boundary around Lac la Nonne.
In its Proposal, the Commission also recommended two boundary changes to the electoral district of Fort McMurray—Cold Lake. The first was to add the area of Athabasca County located north of the La Biche River and the area including the La Biche River Wildland Provincial Park to the Fort McMurray—Cold Lake electoral district. The second change was to add a portion of land located south of Highway 28, to the west of Cold Lake Indian Reserve No. 149 and north of Highway 659.
The Commission received no submissions or heard any oral presentations with respect to its proposed electoral district of Grande Prairie. However, it did hear from four presenters in Peace River. They pointed out that the proposed Peace River—Westlock electoral district covered a very large geographic area, but, unlike northern electoral districts in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, it had a significant population in its northern area. For this reason, they argued that the western part of the electoral district, which had been relocated from Grande Prairie, should be reassigned to the Grande Prairie electoral district.
The Commission has decided to reconfigure the boundary between the electoral districts of Grande Prairie and Peace River—Westlock to reduce the discrepancy in their size. Accordingly, the northern boundary of Grande Prairie is extended to the border between Alberta and the Northwest Territories. However, making this change caused the population of the electoral district of Grande Prairie to increase too much, so, to better balance both population and geographic size between that district and the Peace River—Westlock electoral district, Grande Prairie's southeastern boundary has been adjusted westward to follow the Smoky River.
The Commission heard only one oral presentation regarding the electoral district of Fort McMurray—Cold Lake. It was made by the federal returning officer for Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, who suggested that three areas—Chipewyan Lake, Wabasca-Desmarais and Calling Lake—were so remote that Chipewyan Lake and Wabasca-Desmarais should be reassigned to the electoral district of Peace River—Westlock and Calling Lake to the Lakeland electoral district. The Commission considered this submission but decided that these were issues best left to Elections Canada because it could provide adequate staffing to assist the returning officer during a federal election.
Given the reduced population of the Lakeland electoral district, the Commission has decided to return the northern portion of Athabasca County to the Lakeland electoral district so that the county will remain intact. This also has the effect of lowering the geographical size of the electoral district of Fort McMurray—Cold Lake and lowering its 2021 decennial-census population from the proposed 110,779 to 110,504.
Return to footnote 1 Neighbourhood name and physical geographic limits derived from geospatial data produced by the City of Edmonton as of October 24, 2022.
Return to footnote 2 Neighbourhood name and physical geographic limits derived from geospatial data produced by the City of Edmonton as of October 24, 2022.