Federal electoral districts redistribution 2022

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Dinah Sloan

Please find attached my letter of support and input regarding redistribution and the new proposed riding of Kanata.

Thank you for the opportunity to be involved in this important process.

Best regards,

Dinah Sloan

To: ON@redecoupage-federal-redistribution.ca

Subject: Proposed New District of Kanata

Dear Justice Leitch,

I am writing to you today about the proposed electoral districts for Ottawa; specifically, I would like to express my support for the proposed new district of Kanata.

Kanata has seen exponential growth this past decade, and - considering the currently 1,200+ open positions in the Kanata North Technology Park alone, the success of the local business park will further fuel the tremendous growth we have seen in recent years.

Keeping the electoral quotient in mind, I feel it is necessary to centralize our riding’s boundaries around the growing suburban centre, which—in turn—requires merging the sparsely populated rural communities into neighbouring ridings. To that end, I would like to share with the Commission some distinct communities of interest which may inform their boundary selection process.

In previous Commissions—including the redistribution of Nepean—Carleton in 2012 where the then-Scotiabank Place Arena was a focal point of the boundary redistribution process—the Commission has set the precedence of ensuring that community staples and notable businesses are included in the ridings which they serve. In my opinion, the Diefenbunker, Carp Fair, and Carp Farmers’ Market are well defined community staples of the Kanata region; many Kanata residents frequent these sites and contribute heavily to the local economy in doing so. Thus, the riding of Kanata should include the Carp area so as to include these community staples within our boundaries.

I support including the Hazeldean North area into the riding of Kanata as Stittsville and Kanata are similar in interest. Many residents who work in Kanata—Carleton reside in Stittsville, especially the Hazeldean North area. These workers include Canadian Tire Centre employees, hi-tech workers (i.e. workers in businesses along Palladium Drive), as well as many students who attend Kanata schools yet reside in Stittsville. Additionally, for the purpose of census collection, Kanata and Stittsville are considered under the umbrella of “the population centre of Kanata”, indicating that federal government entities already recognize the similarities of these two towns for the purpose of administering federal services. Therefore, Hazeldean North is a natural and positive addition to the Kanata riding, with the added benefit of bringing our riding in line with the population quotient.

The proposed Kanata riding boundary clarifies the major intersection of Hazeldean and Terry Fox, as it previously was based on an arbitrary line designed to include one small residential area (Kincardine Park). This is a positive change and improves the clarity of our riding’s boundaries in relation to the Carleton riding.

The inclusion of Bells Corners into the riding of Kanata satisfies religious interests, as the majority of Muslim Kanata residents—especially those living in the suburban Bridlewood neighbourhood—attend a mosque located in Bells Corners (Jami Omar Mosque). Thus, they would be better served with their place of worship being included in the proposed Kanata riding.

Under this proposal, the areas being removed from our riding have a weak connection to the city of Kanata, specifically:

  • The Burnt Lands Road area has a closer interest to the township of Mississippi Mills, rather than an electoral district more closely associated with the City of Ottawa. This was exemplified during the Ottawa power outage during this summer, when Burnt Lands Road. residents opted to use Mississippi Mills township emergency services, rather than drive a significant distance to the closest emergency service station in Carp.  Thus, they would be better served by the proposed Lanark—Frontenac riding.
  • Students in Kanata—Carleton’s rural areas (Kinburn, Fitzroy, etc.) fall under the West Carleton SS catchment area, a catchment area which nearly follows the new boundaries of the new proposed Kanata riding. There would be no material difference to the quality of education or existing catchment areas if these students were served by the Algonquin—Renfrew—Pembroke riding.
  • Many Corkery residents use the health services of Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit/Carleton Place Hospital/Almonte Hospital, rather than drive into the City of Ottawa to use CHEO/Ottawa Hospital services. Thus, they would be better served by the proposed Lanark—Frontenac riding.
  • Many Fitzroy and Constance Bay residents are more likely to use the Arnprior Hospital than CHEO/Ottawa Hospital due to proximity. Thus, they would be better served by the Algonquin—Renfrew—Pembroke riding.

It is my understanding that the inclusion of Kanata—Carleton's rural populations into neighbouring ridings Lanark—Frontenac and Algonquin—Renfew—Pembroke brings both of these ridings closer to the electoral quotient.

The new proposed boundary better satisfies the redistribution guideline goal to “respect communities of interest or identity”. This riding has a rural/suburban divide with interests that tend often to not be aligned on matters important to constituents from both areas.

In summary - the proposed new Kanata riding is a much more logical boundary with regards to promoting common interests of each of those two main constituent groups. Everyone wants their MP to represent them to the best of their ability. There is always a perception when an MP has to argue both sides of an issue that they are not honestly putting some constituents’ needs above another’s. From a rural perspective, I believe there is a perception of having less influence than the more heavily populated areas of the riding. There tends to be the feeling of them vs.us.

Examples of conflicting or lack-of-intersection of policy interests rural vs. suburban:

  • Gun control legislation offers an example of differing constituent interests. As a resident of the suburban area of Kanata-Carleton I understand the needs of rural residents for gun control measures that give latitude for gun use for purposes of some rural residents. However I believe that resident safety in my community requires different and stricter controls over gun possession and use.
  • Environment protection measures have lately been in the news in regards to fertilizer use in farming. Suburban environmental interests have focused more on strategies for lowering carbon emissions. Both groups end up feeling underrepresented on their issue when their MP is defending both sides of often nuanced matters. It may appear that they are not coming out clearly on any issue at all.
  • For some concerns there is little or no overlap in interest. Here are two examples of this.
    1. Light rail transit is broadly seen as a suburban issue (a few rural commuters may benefit though numbers are small). The light rail issue has required federal MP action (environmental to those in studies for example) which can be perceived as being of no real benefit for rural interests. The majority of the advantage of light rail transit would serve suburban commuters and the local high tech industry in this riding (by attracting workers for their businesses).
    2. The other issue of minimal overlap is the concern over high speed internet service in rural areas. High speed internet is of huge concern for rural residents and businesses but is considerably less an issue for suburban residents and businesses.

This lack of intersection of interests understandingly may lead to the perception that my MP is not always arguing my case or working on issues that matter to me.

I earnestly implore you to move forward with the Proposed Redistribution Plan, recognizing that the proposed electoral district of Kanata acknowledges past and future growth of Kanata and would enable better representation for this distinct and growing suburb.


Dinah Sloan

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