And So It Begins

Saskatchewan Conservative MPs have begun speaking out against the new map of electoral districts that the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission proposed the other day, arguing that it would create unnecessary friction in the province by pitting urban voters against rural voters (and vice versa) and generally just fail at serving the needs of an integrated Saskatchewan economy/society where urban and rural interests are closely entwined.

The Conservative MPs also argue that the revised map would result in sprawling rural ridings that would be difficult for the elected representative to adequately represent. If you check the comments section of this post from Tuesday, you’ll find population figures for select ridings that show that in all six instances the urban ridings located in Regina and Saskatoon have higher populations than the average riding population in the province of 73,813. In several instances, in fact, urban ridings have populations that are as much as 10,000 greater than the least populated rural riding (Cypress Hills-Grasslands).

I’m not adamantly opposed to an accommodation like that. But for decades our political structures at both the provincial and federal level have failed to acknowledge the growing reality that Saskatchewan as a province, and Canada as a country, are becoming increasingly urbanized. From infrastructure to housing to poverty, crime and transportation, municipalities face huge challenges in trying to serve the needs of their growing populations. Working within the constraints of an outmoded political model that privileges rural voters over urban voters would hardly seem like a recipe for success as we continue to “move forward” into the 21st century.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

11 thoughts on “And So It Begins”

  1. Public hearings will be held this fall in the following locations to discuss the proposed changes to the electoral map. If anyone is interested in making a presentation, here’s the procedure:

    Everyone is invited to attend. For complete address information for public hearings, visit http://www.federal-redistribution.ca under Saskatchewan > Public Hearings. Those wishing to make a presentation at a hearing are requested to send the commission notice no later than September 3 by e-mail at [email protected] or by mail (440 2nd Avenue North, Suite 203, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7K 2C3).

    REGINA, Ramada Hotel and Convention Centre, Monday, September 17, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

    SWIFT CURRENT, Credit Union iPlex, Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

    WEYBURN, Royal Canadian Legion, Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

    FORT QU’APPELLE, Treaty Four Governance Centre, 740 Sioux Avenue South, Thursday, September 20, 2012 from 10:00 a.m.

    NORTH BATTLEFORD, Don Ross Centre, Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

    PRINCE ALBERT, Carlton Comprehensive High School, Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

    TISDALE, RECplex, Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

    SASKATOON, Radisson Hotel, Friday, October 5, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

  2. It’s not surprising that someone like Tom Lukiwski would be threatened by this change. He would not stand a chance with urban voters. I believe his previous victories are evidence enough of the flawed current system. Let’s make sure we get out and have our voices heard in September!

  3. Really, who cares if Cypress Hills-Grasslands ends up a little bit bigger than it is now? So it will take a special kind of MP to cover all that ground, maybe MP Brad Wall. So good for them. It’s still more fair than having Regina and Saskatoon share all of its MPs with rural voters. And I don;t care if Lukiwski and Block say that it’s “okay”, that that “works for them” — it’s not up to them. They’re just short-term members of a much more important and long-term structure.

  4. It’s not so much a “privledge” to be overserved by the likes of David Anderson, as it is an unfair burden to people who could not drive from one end of their riding and back in a day. It’s become physically impossible for rural candidates to meet with the majority of their constituents. Fortunately the Conservatives have a solution to this problem — they stopped trying to reach everyone and simply identify their base and talk mostly to them by phone, mail, and exclusive semi-public appearances.

  5. #4 Agree. I think it’s funny “contact” suddenly means driving distance, when they don’t do jack anyway, besides the June Graduation circuit and XMas gladhanding.

  6. @ Barb: “Test pilot”? Conservatives in Saskatchewan broke the laziness mold. I’m a good 6 years too late, at least.

    As for new boundaries…The f*cking point isn’t to (hopefully) eradicate Conservatives from Regina…it’s to bring Regina and Saskatoon ridings into line with every other decently-sized city in Canada and to group communities of interest into their actual shared interests.

    Also:

    -eliminate this special/odd status Saskatoon and Regina MPS have of being both urban and rural MPS

    -letting Parliament set the collective vision for Canada, not Tom Lukiwski

    -1 million other reasonable points

  7. I’m fully aware of the point of the boundary revisions, Talbot. What you aren’t aware of is the work it takes to be an elected representative… but then, we know why.

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