Addendum – Disposition of Objections – Manitoba
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission (the Commission) for the Province of Manitoba received two objections to its 2022 Report of the Federal Boundaries Commission for the Province of Manitoba (the 2022 Report). The objections are contained in the Report on the Report of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province of Manitoba, 2022 of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, 44th Parliament, First Session.
The Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. Stéphane Perrault, transmitted the Standing Committee's report as well as the minutes and the transcript of the hearing of the objections before the Standing Committee to the Commission on March 23, 2023. The Commission is therefore required by the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act to consider and dispose of these objections, and return its disposition and possible amendments to its 2022 Report by April 22, 2023.
The Commission met on March 29, 2023, and carefully considered each of the two objections contained in the Standing Committee's report. The following brief addendum explains the Commission's decisions regarding each of these objections and the amendments necessary to this Final Report.
1. Proposed transfer of the Little Saskatchewan Reserve No. 48.
In its Proposal, the Commission did not suggest any changes to the riding of Churchill–Keewatinook Aski that would have involved Little Saskatchewan Reserve No. 48. As a result of representations made at one of our public hearings, in our 2022 Report, we decided to move two small communities from the riding of Churchill–Keewatinook Aski to the electoral district of Selkirk–Interlake–Eastman. In examining the area, the Commission noted that the Little Saskatchewan Reserve No. 48 was divided, with a portion of it being in Churchill–Keewatinook Aski and portion of it being in Selkirk–Interlake–Eastman. The Commission therefore moved the territory of the Little Saskatchewan Reserve No. 48 to the riding of Selkirk–Interlake–Eastman.
Having considered the objections contained in the Standing Committee's report, the Commission has decided to move the Little Saskatchewan Reserve No. 48, in its entirety, as well as a territory that is a recent community development by Lake St. Martin Reserve (which is currently in Churchill–Keewatinook Aski) called Obushkudayang, from Selkirk–Interlake–Eastman to Churchill–Keewatinook Aski. The Commission was persuaded by the joint representation made by the members of Parliament (MPs) for those two ridings that to locate these First Nation communities in Selkirk–Interlake–Eastman would have the effect of separating them from a number of other communities with whom they have shared interests and a shared identity. They are two of seven interrelated First Nations in the area. As well, we understand the concern raised by the MPs about disenfranchisement and the importance of continuity in constituency boundaries as one component of the promotion and protection of effective representation.
Therefore, we have implemented changes based on the map suggested by the MPs and approved by the nearby and affected Rural Municipality of Grahamdale. These changes will place the population of the riding of Churchill–Keewatinook Aski at 82,741 with a variance of -13.69% of the electoral quota. The population of Selkirk–Interlake–Eastman will be 98,620 with a variance of 2.87%.
2. Proposed transfer of area in the Rural Municipality of Springfield to the electoral district of Elmwood–Transcona.
In its Proposal, the Commission was faced with the challenge of reducing the population of the riding of Provencher, which, as of the 2021 Census, had a variance of 14.16% above the electoral quota. We initially proposed moving the French-language communities of the rural municipalities of De Salaberry and Montcalm to the riding of Portage–Lisgar. However, based on submissions made that these communities should be kept with other designated bilingual communities in the riding we were persuaded to keep these communities in the electoral district of Provencher. This resulted in a high population variance in Provencher. Thus, we moved part of the Rural Municipality of Springfield from Provencher to the ridings of Kildonan–St. Paul and Elmwood–Transcona.
The MP for Elmwood–Transcona objected to the inclusion of a portion of the Rural Municipality of Springfield in the riding of Elmwood–Transcona. In his view, the effect of the proposal would be to convert Elmwood–Transcona from an urban riding into a mixed urban-rural riding. He submitted that this would create communities with divergent interests and priorities in the same riding. He also stated that it would significantly alter the workload of the MP for that riding, including having to develop relationships with rural members of the Legislative Assembly, health authorities and council for the Rural Municipality of Springfield.
The MP for Elmwood–Transcona suggested that the Commission increase the geographic size of Kildonan–St. Paul to include the area from the Rural Municipality of Springfield that it had assigned to Elmwood–Transcona. He noted that Kildonan–St. Paul is already made up of urban and rural communities. In order to offset the decrease in population in Elmwood–Transcona, he suggested that the boundaries of that riding be expanded to include a larger portion of the neighbourhood of North Kildonan.
The Standing Committee endorsed the objection, with there being four dissenting members.
The dissenters submitted that the extension of Elmwood–Transcona into part of the Rural Municipality of Springfield in and around and including the area of Dugald is reasonable. They observed that the area is proximate to Transcona; the driving distance is less than 15 minutes and the main transportation route that runs through Dugald is Dugald Road, which connects Dugald to Transcona. They maintained that Dugald and the surrounding area is more closely connected to Transcona than the northeast Winnipeg neighbourhoods situated in Kildonan– St. Paul. Finally, the dissenters commented that, when asked, the MP for Elmwood–Transcona had stated that he had not heard from anyone who had expressed concern about the Commission's Report regarding this issue. The dissenters stated that there were submissions in support of connecting all of the Rural Municipality of Springfield with Elmwood–Transcona and that no other Manitoba MP signed on to the objection.
After considering the objection and dissent in the Standing Committee's report, the Commission is of the view that the boundary of Elmwood–Transcona should not be altered from the 2022 Report. We remain of the view that there are social and economic ties between Elmwood–Transcona and Dugald and its surrounding area. Similarly, we are not persuaded by the argument against ridings comprised of both urban and rural components. The Commission notes that, as a result of the continuing ex-urban sprawl, many developed, concentrated population centres just outside of cities have become semi-urban dormitory communities with much in common with city dwellers. While there may be diverse and sometimes competing interests between such communities, this is also the case within urban communities as well.
The Commission has accepted one of the two objections received from the Standing Committee and amends its report to correspond with the resulting changes. The revised map and descriptions of the ridings are contained in the following pages.
Dated at Winnipeg, Manitoba, this 21st day of April, 2023.
The Honourable Justice Diana M. Cameron, Chair
Kelly Saunders, Member
Paul G. Thomas, Member
Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province of Manitoba