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Nova Scotia

St. Mary’s council supports Fraser’s criticism of federal boundary changes

ST. MARY’S – Council for the Municipality of the District of St Mary’s supports Central Nova MP Sean Fraser’s criticism of proposed federal boundary changes that would expand his largely rural constituency into suburban Halifax.

“Sean’s office is on call [to us for] for a letter of support [as] he’s not particularly happy with the changes ahead,” Warden Greg Wier told his fellow community members at a special council meeting on Jan. 25, adding, “Personally, I don’t think it’s a great idea to meddle with big places because small places get lost when big places are involved.”

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Nova Scotia report, presented in the House of Commons last fall, recommends Central Nova – which includes St Mary’s, the township of Guysborough Borough and the town of Antigonish and the county township of Antigonish, become Pictou-Eastern Shore and include some Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) communities. It also proposes that the Antigonian jurisdictions be transferred to the redrawn Cape Breton-Canso-Antigonish Riding (formerly Cape Breton-Canso).

In conversation with The diary in November, Fraser expressed his reservations about the program. “I am disappointed in the decision…to remove Antigonish from the Central Nova Riding and expand the other side of the Riding as far as Cole Harbor…into the suburban HRM,” he said. “It’s not a sensible decision in my view… [It’s] common sense that horseback riding should embrace communities with shared interests and shared histories.”

Referring to the public consultation process, he added: “I feel like the feedback they have [the Commission] was not adequately addressed and the adjustments that most people who would have attended the hearing in Antigonian would have expected were simply not made.”

According to a commission press release last April, the proposed redistribution of federal constituencies in Nova Scotia takes into account changes in the province’s population — particularly a large population increase in metropolitan Halifax and demographic declines in Cape Breton and the eastern mainland. “The main goal is to divide the province into 11 constituencies that are as close as possible to the voting quota…of 88,126 people per constituency…as reasonably as possible,” it said.

Last week, Wier said in council, “We must make a motion that we support Sean in his efforts to keep the electoral boundaries as they are… that we do not accept the changes that are being put forward.”

Assistant Warden James Fuller, representing Goshen & Area (District 6): “I’m definitely going to postpone this.”

Beulah Malloy, representing Indian Harbor Lake & Sonora Area (District 4), added, “And I’m definitely going to support that.”

All Council members agreed to sign the letter of support.

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