Guide to Participation in Manitoba Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission Process
The Manitoba Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission welcomes advice from individuals and organizations to assist with the redrawing of the boundaries for the 14 constituencies that elect members of Parliament (MPs) to serve in the House of Commons.
The Commission must consider growth, shifts and changes in the composition of the provincial population based on the 2021 census. In drawing boundaries, the Commission must strive for voter parity, which means that there should not be wide disparities among the constituencies in terms of population. Numbers alone, however, do not determine decisions on where to draw the lines for constituencies. The Commission must also consider such factors as communities of interest and identity, history, geography, transportation and communication links, manageable size and relative continuity over time.
The province of Manitoba consists of a large territory with significant regional differences based on geography, transportation links, economic activity, communications patterns and the demographics of local communities. Public submissions and presentations at public hearings will help the Commission to better understand the physical, economic and cultural diversities of the province. Such understanding is essential to applying concepts such as community of interest and identity.
The decennial process of independent commissions redrawing constituency boundaries is an important part of Canada's process of electoral democracy. Engaging with more groups and individuals could potentially lead to greater acceptance of the boundaries drawn by the Commission. This guide to participation is meant to support an open, accessible, inclusive, informed and respectful dialogue on a range of considerations that will shape the Commission's decisions.
When to get involved?
The Commission would be pleased to receive advice during different stages of its work.
The initial stage is in response to a press release and letter from the Chair of the Commission inviting written submissions on the principles and criteria that should guide the Commission in its work. At that point, comments and recommendations on how voter parity should be balanced with community interests and other factors would be helpful. This initial stage ends Monday, April 4, 2022.
The second stage will begin when the Commission releases its provisional maps for the 14 constituencies. Written submissions commenting on the maps could be sent to the Commission by email and regular mail. Oral and written submissions could also be made as part of a hybrid public hearings process involving both in-person and online meetings. This second stage ends Friday, October 14, 2022.
The third stage will happen after the proposed final maps are tabled in Parliament and the Commission's report is presented to the House of Commons, where it will be referred to a committee for review by MPs. There could be a discussion with the possibility of recommendations to change the proposals. Any responses from MPs will be placed on the Commission's website. Members of the public may contact their MP with concerns but at this stage the Commission has completed its public consultation.
Any duly noted objection from the House of Commons will be sent to the Commission for reconsideration. Under the provisions of the Electoral Boundaries Redistribution Act (the Act), the Commission has the legal authority to make the final decisions on the design of the 14 constituencies.
How to submit
There are three ways to make a submission.
The first is by regular mail or delivery in person to the office of the Commission, located at the Cargill Building at 240 Graham Avenue, Suite 210, Winnipeg, MB, R3C 0J7.
The second is by email to the following address: MB@redecoupage-federal-redistribution.ca.
The third way is to make an in-person or online submission at one of the public hearings that will be planned and scheduled by the Commission in the fall. Details regarding public hearings will be publicly advertised in newspapers and on the Commission's website.
The Act provides that groups, organizations and individuals wishing to participate in a public hearing register in advance by submitting a notice of their intention to appear.
The Act also provides that individuals and groups who fail to register in advance may be heard if the Commission considers it in the public interest to do so.
The Commission has established a website to provide information to the public, which includes a link to our email address to which questions and submissions can be sent.
Elections Canada has established a Facebook page, an Instagram account and a Twitter account providing information regarding the Manitoba commission as well as others. All postings on this social media will be monitored by Elections Canada. Such postings will not be treated as submissions and the Commission will not respond to them.
Format of submissions
There is no prescribed form or format for submissions. Submissions may contain facts, opinions, arguments and recommendations. They can contain maps and other images. There is no length limit. Given the volume of material that the Commission must consider, concise presentations are preferred, as are submissions that make practical recommendations on how constituency boundaries should be redrawn.
Submissions can deal with such matters as the guiding principles of the Commission; its interpretation of the concept of community of interest and other factors; its overall plan for redrawing boundaries; suggestions on boundaries for one or several constituencies; and/or recommendations on the names of constituencies.
Submissions will be public
Consistent with its commitment to an open and informed dialogue, the Commission has decided that all written submissions will be posted on its website.
The only identifying information provided online will be the name of the group or individual making the submission. However, your address and other contact information will be kept on file with the Commission so that we can follow up with information as the work of the Commission proceeds.
The online availability of submissions will contribute to awareness and understanding of the process. It will allow citizens to see the arguments and evidence being presented by others.
The three commissioners thank you in advance for your interest and participation in the important process of establishing constituencies, which will represent relative voter parity, respect communities of interest and contribute to effective representation by Manitoba's 14 MPs on behalf of all Manitobans.
Questions can be directed initially to the Secretary of the Commission, Mr. Kevin Young, by email at MB@redecoupage-federal-redistribution.ca or by telephone at 204-984-0971 or 1-855-747-7226.
Justice Diana Cameron, Chair
Dr. Paul G. Thomas
Dr. Kelly Saunders