Introduction – Manitoba
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Manitoba, constituted in accordance with section 3 of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, RSC, 1985, c. E3 (the Act), submits its report pursuant to section 14(2) of the Act.
The members of the Commission for Manitoba, appointed in accordance with the provisions of sections 5 and 6 of the Act, are:
Chairperson: Madam Justice Diana M. Cameron
Justice of the Court of Appeal of Manitoba
Member: Dr. Kelly Saunders
Associate Professor, Political Science, Brandon University
Member: Dr. Paul Thomas
Professor Emeritus, Political Studies, University of Manitoba
The Commission was established by Order in Council on November 1, 2021, and proclaimed on November 24, 2021. In accordance with section 13 of the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer presented the Chairperson with the return of the Chief Statistician of Canada, confirming the population of the Province of Manitoba stated to be 1,342,153, as established by the census of Canada, taken in the year 2021.
In accordance with section 14(1) of the Act, the Chief Electoral Officer advised the Chairperson that fourteen (14) members in the House of Commons would continue to be assigned to Manitoba. The electoral quota (the population average per riding) was calculated to be 95,868.
Based on the above information, the Commission proceeded to review the boundaries of the 14 electoral districts, also known as ridings or constituencies, pursuant to the directions contained in the Act.
In accordance with subsection 19(2) of the Act, a notice of the places and times fixed for the hearing of representations was published in the Canada Gazette on June 25, 2022, and in each of the Winnipeg Sun (June 20, 2022), La Liberté (June 22, 2022), Grassroots News (June 22, 2022), Brandon Sun (June 23, 2022), Winnipeg Free Press (June 23, 2022) and The Globe and Mail (June 24, 2022). It was also published in the provincial weeklies between July 26 and 29, 2022. The notice was posted on our website on June 16, 2022. See https://redecoupage-redistribution-2022.ca/com/mb/index_e.aspx.
The notice included the recommendations of the Commission, comprising the names of the ridings and maps illustrating their boundaries (the initial proposal). Also published was a statement that all representations were to be lodged with the Secretary of the Commission by August 30, 2022.
The Commission set the following dates for the hearing of representations:
|Date of hearing
|Time of hearing
|September 7, 2022
|September 8, 2022
|September 20, 2022
|September 21, 2022
|September 22, 2022
We advised that representations could be made concerning any of the electoral districts at any of the meetings, regardless of the location of the meeting.
In view of the small number of requests to appear (only two), and pursuant to our rules, the meeting on September 21, 2022, in Steinbach was cancelled. Each of the individuals who had given notice of their intention to make a representation was advised of the cancellation and was offered the opportunity to make a virtual representation, a teleconference representation or a written submission. One of the individuals subsequently made a virtual representation at our meeting on September 22, 2022.
At the four public hearings, we heard a total of 28 presentations. We also received 43 written submissions. Some of the oral presentations were made by the same persons who had made written submissions. Having said that, the oral presentations were greatly appreciated by the Commission and gave context to the written submissions.
Transcripts of the oral presentations will be posted on our website as well as all written submissions.
The Commission would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the Manitobans who made the effort and took the time to contribute to the important democratic exercise of determining fair and reasonable boundaries for Manitoba's 14 electoral districts. These boundaries will be implemented for the next federal election, scheduled to take place in October 2025.
We learned a great deal from these submissions and have referenced many of them in this report. While we did not accept all the suggestions, the information provided was valuable, and it enriched our understanding of both the diversity of some communities and the similarities and ties among others.
Members of Parliament (MPs) have intimate knowledge of the communities they serve and the challenges of effective representation. Thus, we were interested and grateful to receive their opinions and recommendations. We received written or oral submissions (in some cases, both) from 11 of Manitoba's 14 MPs. Dan Mazier, Candace Bergen, James Bezan, Raquel Dancho, Ted Falk, Larry Maguire and Marty Morantz forwarded a joint letter. Larry Maguire, Dan Mazier, James Bezan and Daniel Blaikie made submissions in writing and orally. Ted Falk and Leah Gazan forwarded submissions in writing, and Niki Ashton made an oral presentation.
Given the MPs' in-depth knowledge of their individual constituencies, it was appropriate that the Commission consider the perspectives they presented in their written and oral submissions. However, it is important to recall that the Commission is an independent body, with the responsibility of making the final determination of the boundaries of the electoral districts. With this in mind, we adhered to a non-partisan approach, governing ourselves by the rules set out in the Act when preparing the initial proposal and this report.
Thanks to all the presentations and submissions, the Commission came to a greater appreciation of the value of continuity in constituency boundaries. Changes to boundaries to reflect growth and shifts in populations must occur. Nevertheless, whenever possible, those changes should not be so extensive as to risk the organizational arrangements and processes that provide a basis for effective representation.
In addition to our advance consultation and the notice required by the Act, we reached out to a number of organizations in Manitoba to advise them of the work of the Commission. These organizations included Indigenous organizations and governments, francophone and bilingual organizations, municipal organizations, ethnocultural organizations, current and former MPs and members of the Legislative Assembly, the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba and all the political studies or political science departments at the provincial universities, unions and organizations centred on persons with disabilities.
In order to promote involvement and constructive advice, the Commission drafted and posted online a Guide to Participation. It also announced that written submissions and transcripts of the hearings would be posted online. These steps were meant to support transparency in how individuals and organizations were communicating with the Commission and the arguments and the evidence that they were presenting.
To better facilitate public participation and better inform the submissions, in our initial round of public consultation we set forth the following three guiding principles:
- In order to give effect to the principle of relative parity of voting power, we strove to achieve populations in each electoral district that would correspond, as closely as reasonably possible, to the electoral quota for the province. In this regard, we set a tolerance goal of plus or minus 5% from the provincial average (for a total variance range of 10%).
- We took into account population growth projections to reasonably ensure that the population of each riding would remain within the plus or minus 5% range.
- We tried to respect the integrity of different entities and communities, such as municipalities, Indigenous communities and Manitoba's designated bilingual communities.
A more detailed document explaining our guiding principles can be found on our website. See Guiding principles - Manitoba - Federal Electoral Districts Redistribution (redecoupage-redistribution-2022.ca).
After carefully reviewing all the presentations and submissions and considering their cumulative effect, the Commission made significant modifications to our initial proposal—especially to the riding of Churchill—Keewatinook Aski. Of course, changes to one boundary will also affect the population and communities of interest represented in other ridings.