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Proposals to rejig 3 ridings rejected

Electoral boundaries panel reports

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OTTAWA -- The federal electoral boundaries redistribution commission for Manitoba has rejected calls to move Elmwood out of the Elmwood-Transcona riding.

The latest proposals for Manitoba's 14 federal ridings were tabled in a report to the House of Commons on Monday. In it, the commission accepted several suggestions Manitobans made about the proposed boundaries first released in August.

However, the commission rejected three of the most substantial requests, including one by three Conservative MPs to move most of the community of Elmwood into Winnipeg Centre.

Last month, former NDP MP Jim Maloway raised concerns this was an attempt to gerrymander the Elmwood-Transcona riding to make it easier for Conservative Lawrence Toet to win again in the next election.

Toet defeated Maloway in Elmwood-Transcona by 300 votes. It was the first time the NDP did not win the riding since it was created in 1987.

In a joint submission to the commission, Toet, Provencher MP Vic Toews and Selkirk-Interlake MP James Bezan asked that Elmwood be moved into Winnipeg Centre and Oakbank and Dugald moved into Elmwood-Transcona from Provencher. They said Oakbank and Dugald residents share the same interests as Transcona residents and Elmwood residents had more in common with residents of Winnipeg Centre.

The commission did not mention gerrymandering as a reason to reject the proposal. Rather, it listed concerns about properly representing marginalized groups that dominate the population of Winnipeg Centre as a concern.

"The riding is one of the lowest-income districts in Canada, with a large number of aboriginal people and new Canadians; consequently there are numerous and distinctive challenges in terms of achieving effective representation through the elected MP," reads the report.

The commission also rejected a request to leave Linden Woods in Winnipeg South rather than move it to Winnipeg South Centre as proposed, and rejected a request from NDP MP Niki Ashton that her Churchill riding not be substantially enlarged.

The commission did listen to some requests not to split certain communities. Winnipeg North, for example, will now retain all of the Maples and have all of Amber Trails. The original proposal had Amber Trails and half the Maples moved into Kildonan-St.Paul.

The town and RM of Morris will both be part of Portage-Lisgar rather than split. The RM of Grahamdale, the only RM divided between ridings, will move entirely into Selkirk-Interlake.

The complete report and boundary proposals are available online at www.redecoupage-federal-redistribution.ca.

This version will be debated by a House of Commons committee before being approved by Elections Canada. The new boundaries will be in place for the 2015 federal election.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 4, 2012 A5

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