Bill 42 may hurt rural representation, Municipalities NL says

The president of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador is expressing the concerns of some of his members, who don't like the planned cut in the number of MHAs.
The president of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador is expressing the concerns of some of his members, who don't like the planned cut in the number of MHAs. 2:24

The president of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador is expressing concerns raised by some of his members, who don't like the planned cut in the number of MHAs.

Churence Rogers says councils are worried that they will have less access to provincial politicians when there are fewer of them.

This comes in light of Bill 42, which was passed on Friday and will reduce the number of seats in the provincial legislature from 48 to 40.

Municipalities NL has decided that it will present to the Electoral Boundaries Commission when it convenes. 

The board wrapped up a series of pre-budget meetings this weekend, and President Churance Rogers said some of the members have cited concerns over how seat reductions will impact MHA accessibility for municipal leaders. 

Access to MHAs

Rogers told CBC News that municipal leadership works in tandem with the provincial government, and as electoral boundaries grow, so too will the challenges for rural areas of the province.

"For us its about making sure our members get the representation they deserve, and the access to their MHA's," he said.

"If they express those concerns to us, then obviously we'll have to deal with that and address those with government on their behalf."

Rural impact

Rogers thinks that areas outside of the urban centres will be the most affected by the seat reduction.

"In our mind, we see the impact being in rural NL," he said.

"There has to be expansion of the rural seats."

He is worried that if rural districts are combined together, it will be harder for members to represent residents as effectively as they have in the past.

"Accessible MHA's from the point of view of numbers is the concern that we have," he said.

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