Moncton-area mayors propose federal riding changes

Mayors in Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe spoke out on Thursday against a plan to split up the neighbouring municipalities into three different federal ridings.

3 mayors suggest creating 2 urban ridings

Mayors in Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe spoke out on Thursday against a plan to split up the neighbouring municipalities into three different federal ridings.

A riding redistribution commission is touring New Brunswick, seeking input on its proposal to redraw the boundaries of the province’s 10 federal ridings.

The greater Moncton region’s population has grown so much since the last time the boundaries were set that the commission has suggested splitting up the municipalities.

The plan would have Dieppe moved into the existing riding of Beauséjour. The proposed Beauséjour-Dieppe riding would have 92,072 people, which would make it the largest riding in the province.

Meanwhile, Moncton and Riverview would become a single urban riding with 80,825 people, which would make it the third largest riding in the province.

There would still be a portion of Riverview that would rest in the Fundy-Quispamsis riding, which would make it the fourth largest riding in New Brunswick.

There are 115,000 people living in the existing federal riding of Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, which is well above the limit set out in federal law.

Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc said the three communities share so many services that it does not make sense to split them up in the new riding map.

Proposed federal ridings and populations
New Brunswick Southwest65,592
Saint John85,838
Tobique-Saint John River Valley73,656

"The Greater Moncton International Airport is in Dieppe and the Moncton Golf Club is in Riverview," LeBlanc said.

New Brunswick's shifting demographics have made it difficult for the federal commissioners to carve up the province into 10 ridings that adhere to the population guidelines.

Justice Alexandre Deschênes, Patrick Malcolmson and Justice Thomas Riordon, must get every riding to roughly 75,000, but are allowed a variance of plus or minus 25 per cent.

The three commissioners must also balance all of the competing demands in their final report, which federal politicians, by law, cannot change.

Adding one area to a riding, means the commissioners are removing that area from a neighbouring riding.

Riverview Mayor Ann Seamans said she wants her town to stay in the urban riding.

"Many of our residents work in businesses situated in Moncton-Riverview and provide banking and financial transactions in Moncton-Riverview," she said.

Seamans said some Riverview residents must spent almost 90 minutes to the constituency office of Conservative MP Rob Moore.

"To my knowledge, Riverview is the only community in New Brunswick that is divided in such a way," Seamans said.

The Moncton mayor is putting forward a proposal to create two urban ridings in the Moncton area.

Siemans and Dieppe Mayor Yvon LaPierre are both backing that plan.

"I presented 10 years ago and opposed it because at the time we had so much going together but, you know, in 10 years our population has almost doubled," he said.