Nfld. & Labrador

'No logic' in Bay of Islands boundary change, says Eddie Joyce

The Liberal MHA for Bay of Islands, on Newfoundland's west coast, plans to protest boundary changes being made to his district.
Bay of Islands MHA Eddie Joyce thinks common interests on both sides of the Humber Arm of the Bay of Islands means the district should not be split up. (CBC)

The Liberal MHA for Bay of Islands, on Newfoundland's west coast, plans to protest boundary changes being made to his district.

Eddie Joyce said he's shocked that the Bay of Islands will be split into two distinct political districts if the new electoral boundaries are approved.

Joyce has been in and out of the Bay of Islands seat since 1989 and said he doesn't see any value in changing the boundaries.

"When I first seen it, I was shocked," he said.

"I was trying to judge to see how they came up with this configuration — no logic to me."

The proposal would cut the Bay of Islands in two, with the northern shore becoming part of Humber North, and the southern shore landing in the proposed district of Humber South-St. George's.

The current electoral boundaries of the Bay of Islands district, which included both the northern and southern shores of the Humber Arm.

Joyce said his experience has shown him that the different towns on the two shores have a long history, and a lot in common.

"If you look at the fisheries, there are three fish plants in the Bay of Islands. A lot of fisher people are in the Bay of Islands," he said.

"You deal with common interests, you have a common MHA who can raise the issues on their behalf."

The new proposed district of Humber South - St. Georges, which would include the southern shore of the Bay of Islands.

Joyce says he's pushing to keep the district the same, and he'll be attending a feedback session next week to voice his concerns.

In the meantime, he is putting forward one possible way to change the districts but still keep the Bay of Islands intact as one political entity.

"My suggestion is to just take a greater part of Corner Brook," he said.

"Keep the Bay of Islands together because the Bay of Islands has been together back since the 1800s."

Re-open nominations

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball said on Monday that his party will re-open nominations if planned boundary changes go ahead.

The Liberals had 27 of 48 nominations in place prior to government's announcement that it would reduce the number of seats to 40. 

Ball said his party has a plan if the final report stays with the elimination of eight seats.

"What we would do then as a party, of course, is that we would open up those districts again for open nominations," he said.

"That is truly in the spirit of openness and transparency, no different than we did in the past."

Ball says it's premature to talk about how he'll vote on the changes or whether he'll allow his caucus members to vote freely at this point, considering nothing is finalized.

With files from Jeremy Eaton

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