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New electoral boundaries for southeast
Rezoning could be a challenge for incumbents: expert
Change is in the air as voters in south Winnipeg prepare to head to the polls for the upcoming Oct. 4 provincial election.
The boundaries of all ridings in the region are set to change as a result of electoral redistribution. The names of some ridings will also change.
In 2008, the Electoral Divisions Boundaries Commission produced its final report, making changes to all but one of the province’s 57 electoral divisions.
"With the exception of The Pas, every electoral boundary is different in Manitoba," said Mary Skanderbeg, Elections Manitoba’s manager of operations.
Skanderbeg added it was not an unexpected result, considering Elections Manitoba only reviews electoral boundaries every 10 years. The last such review was conducted in in 1998.
"All of the changes are quite miniscule. In Winnipeg, none of the 31 seats see any significant changes," she said, noting population is the driving factor in deciding new electoral boundaries.
The commission used statistics from the 2006 census to redefine the boundaries.
"We try to even out numbers, based on achieving 20,000 potential voters per electoral division," Skanderbeg said.
Christopher Adams, an adjunct professor with the University of Winnipeg’s politics department and a pollster with Probe Research, said it’s hard to predict what impact boundary changes could have on election results.
He said candidates will likely study the new boundaries as well as poll-by-poll voter breakdown from the last election.
"Candidates will be able to tell which are their Conservative or NDP strengths of area, and which ones to campaign in," he explained.
Adams added new boundaries could provide a challenge for incumbents.
"If people are used to seeing the same MLA in their neighbourhood, the rezoning suddenly means they don’t have the same MLAs knocking on their door," he said.
He cited the example of the NDP incumbent Kerri Irvin Ross, whose Fort Garry riding has been redrawn and renamed to Fort Richmond.
"She will be a fairly new name to a many of the voters when she knocks on the door, even though she’s been in government for a while now.
"It could reduce the incumbency (advantage)," he said.
No riding in southeast Winnipeg will remain untouched by boundary changes.
The Riel riding now encompasses the neighbourhood of Kingston Row and a new southern boundary (Burland Avenue and Warde Avenue) instead of Novavista Drive, removing some voters from the Seine River riding.
Meanwhile, the eastern parcel of the riding between Dakota Street and the Seine River has been divided between the St. Vital riding (from Bishop Grandin Boulevard to Meadowood Drive) and the Seine River riding (Meadowood to Novavista).
The St. Vital riding’s boundary with the St. Boniface boundary has also shifted to the south (Carriere Avenue to Harrowby Avenue).
The St. Boniface’s eastern boundary has been pushed to Lagimodiere Boulevard from Panet and Speers Roads.
Southdale has remained largely unchanged as a riding, with the exception of the Southland Park neighbourhood — located across from the Canadian Mint — which now finds itself in the Radisson riding.
For more detailed information of riding boundaries, visit www.electionsmanitoba.ca.
— With files from Rob Brown
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