Communities south of Edmonton relieved by latest federal boundary review changes
'The area south of the city of Edmonton is really one region': MP Mike Lake
The latest proposal to shift the boundaries of a federal riding south of Edmonton is a relief for several communities near the airport.
The initial proposal shifted Beaumont from the riding of Edmonton–Wetaskiwin, a large geographical riding south of the city, to a riding east of the city, joining with Strathcona County.
Beaumont and several partners lobbied the commission in charge of preparing the report on new boundaries to keep them in a riding with neighbouring communities like Leduc, Wetaskiwin, Calmar, Devon, Millet and Thorsby.
The mayor of Beaumont said he's glad the commission listened. The new proposal calls the riding Leduc-Wetaskiwin.
"We believe strongly that we have much more in common with our neighbours in Leduc city and Leduc County, Devon, Wetaskiwin and so on, than we do with Strathcona County," Beaumont Mayor Bill Daneluik told CBC last month.
"Strathcona County is a great community ... But we have a geographic area here that we're very proud of. We have a very big economic region here with our proximity to the airport, the QEII Highway trade corridor and surrounding industry."
He added that Beaumont and the surrounding area has a shared history of agriculture with Leduc County that the region doesn't share with Strathcona County.
"It made sense to us to keep our region together and have representation in Ottawa for our region as a whole that shares economic and demographic and agricultural similarities," he said.
There's still a bit of a process before it's all official. The report is now before the federal Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and any objections on it by House members will be returned to the commission for consideration.
If approved, the earliest the boundaries would become official would be April 2024.
Daneluik said it helps when regions have similar interests, industries, and issues, because then the MP can more effectively represent the region in Ottawa, he added.
The current MP for the region, Mike Lake, said the new proposed boundaries are a vast improvement from the initial proposition.
"If you're looking at communities of interest, the area south of the city of Edmonton is really one region and should be one regions sort of centred around Nisku and the airport," Lake said in an interview Monday.
Lake echoed Daneluik in saying that it helps MPs and local governments when regions are kept together.
Lake said, for example, in the initial proposition, Leduc County was split up into five different federal constituencies. If local government was trying to advocate for something, they would have had to call five different MPs.
"It just makes it a lot easier on both fronts ... when it's possible to keep areas of common interest together, it makes it much more efficient in terms of representation," he said.
The boundaries would not come into effect until after an election, Lake said.