Alberta to introduce bill making boundary changes law

The legislature defeated an amendment introduced by United Conservative Party MLA Prab Gill to name the proposed Calgary-Falconridge riding after former Progressive Conservative MLA and cabinet minister Manmeet Bhullar.

Boundaries commission recommended consolidating rural ridings to create 3 new urban ridings

Former MLA and cabinet minister Manmeet Bhullar was killed in a highway crash in November 2015. (Trisha Estabrooks/CBC News )

The Alberta government intends to introduce a bill within the next few days that will turn boundary changes recommended by an independent commission into law.

A majority of MLAs accepted the report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission after two and a half hours of debate in the legislature Tuesday night.

The commission wants Alberta to consolidate rural ridings to create three new constituencies in Calgary, Edmonton and Airdrie to address the rapid population growth in urban areas and keep the number of seats in the legislature at 87. 

MLAs from the United Conservative Party opposed the recommendations. Many United Conservative Party members represent ridings outside of Edmonton and Calgary.

Two NDP MLAs broke ranks with their caucus to vote against the report: Colin Piquette from Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater and Eric Rosendahl from West Yellowhead.

MLAs made some changes to the report's recommendations on the proposed names of five constituencies.

The legislature defeated an amendment introduced by UCP MLA Prab Gill to name the proposed Calgary-Falconridge riding after former Progressive Conservative MLA and cabinet minister Manmeet Bhullar.

Bhullar was killed during a snowstorm in November 2015 on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway. He was struck by a vehicle after he got out of his car to help another motorist.

In its report, the commission said it would be best to memorialize Bhullar in other ways.

"(The commission) continues to believe that his legacy will receive a more enduring and effective tribute when recognized in other ways, as, for example, by way of the naming of a Calgary elementary school for him, a school that opened in August 2017," the report said.