Shelburne MLA backs electoral boundary report
Sterling Belliveau says he still intends to oppose final draft
The cabinet minister who represents Shelburne says he hasn't changed his mind on whether his constituency should be split in two, despite voting for a report Monday night that may do just that.
Sterling Belliveau told hundreds of people gathered to protest the proposed new electoral boundaries map last month that he would vote against the bill to enact the change.
But on Monday night, he voted in favour of Bill 94, along with every government MLA in the house.
Belliveau said Monday's vote doesn't count as support for the changes.
"In the present form as the boundary commission has presented, I'll be voting against that to split Shelburne County. I've been crystal clear," Belliveau said.
"I have also been committed to making sure that the residents of Shelburne County have an opportunity to be heard."
Belliveau said voting for the bill gives the law amendments committee time to travel to Shelburne and seek public reaction on the proposed changes.
That decision was made after the Electoral Boundaries Commission submitted its third draft of a new electoral map — following months of wrangling over the rights of minority groups — and voters in the district of Shelburne said they were stunned to learn their riding had been cut in half without public consultation.
The commission is tasked with redrawing the province's electoral map to ensure voters are afforded equal representation in the legislative assembly — a process that is carried out every 10 years to reflect population changes.
Belliveau, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, was put in the politically awkward position of criticizing the proposed changes in a government bill.
He said Monday that if there are no changes to the boundary lines proposed in the bill, he'll vote against it the next time it comes up for a vote in the house.