Electoral boundaries map dispute remains unresolved

Francophone groups that oppose the new electoral boundaries map are still in talks with the provincial government, but if they decide to go to court, it could throw a wrench in the September election.

Negotiations between francophone groups and provincial government ongoing, legal challenge still possible

Two francophone groups that object to New Brunswick's new electoral map say mediation with the provincial government is winding down.

But neither party will say where the discussions stand, with the provincial election is less than eight months away.

If the Acadian Society and the Association of francophone municipalities decide to proceed with a legal challenge and the new map is ruled unconstitutional, it could cause chaos for the political parties that are already forming riding associations and nominating candidates for the September election.

Elections New Brunswick is not involved in the mediation and says it's preparing for the vote based on the map released last year.

The map reduces the number of ridings to 49 from 55 and moves some francophone municipalities into majority anglophone ridings.

The Acadian Society and the Association of francophone municipalities had considered filling a lawsuit, arguing the changes amounted to unequal and unconstitutional treatment.

But rather than go to court, they agreed to sit down with provincial officials and a mediator.

Jeanne d'Arc Gaudet, president of the Acadian Society, says negotiations should wrap up soon, but declined to discuss the substance of the talks.

"There was an understanding when we started that we wouldn't say anything to anyone until the process was over," Gaudet said.

No one from the provincial government would do an interview on the issue on Monday, but a spokesperson also said an agreement prohibits them from discussing the matter.

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