Northern mayors split on idea of new electoral districts
Proposed changes to federal electoral districts are getting mixed reviews in northeastern Ontario, especially from local mayors.
A draft map with the proposed changes was released this week.
One of the biggest changes would affect the western part of Greater Sudbury — the communities of Copper Cliff and Lively.
Instead of being in a riding with the rest of Greater Sudbury, those communities would be grouped in with towns and cities to the west, including Espanola, Elliot Lake, Thessalon, Chapleau and Wawa.
That huge riding district stretching from Lake Superior to Georgian Bay would be renamed Algoma – Manitoulin – Killarney.
Kapuskasing and Hearst would be bumped from Algoma – Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, and instead land in the Timmins – Cochrane – James Bay riding.
Kapuskasing mayor Alan Spacek likes the look of that new riding.
"We along the Highway 11 corridor have a close working relationship and cultural ties with each other and obviously find it difficult to relate with communities that are five and 600 kilometres away," said Spacek.
Killarney mayor Morgan Pitfield wouldn't be sorry to see Kapuskasing go. He said Killarney naturally has more affiliations with Sudbury than Kapuskasing. Plus, he said he would be happy to get some name recognition for his community in the new riding name.
Another change on the proposed map would would sever Temiskaming from Nipissing, and instead, pair it up with areas of Greater Sudbury in a new district called Nickel Belt – Temiskaming.
But the mayor of Temiskaming Shores, Carman Kidd, said his community has closer ties to North Bay than Sudbury. Kidd also said the move would confuse voters.
"It gets to the point that people don't know where the boundaries are any more and you don't know who is your MP or who you should be contacting." Kidd said.
According to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario, public input hearings will be held this October and November on the proposed new electoral map.