Lawyer promotes creating a new Acadian riding in Inverness County

A second Nova Scotia riding in Inverness County would be good for everyone in the area, not just Acadians according to Réjean Aucoin of Chéticamp.

Réjean Aucoin of Chéticamp says another riding offers chance to have bilingual leader

Rejean Aucoin is a lawyer from Cheticamp, N.S. (Submitted by Rejean Aucoin)

A second Nova Scotia riding in Inverness County would be good for everyone in the area, not just Acadians, according to lawyer Réjean Aucoin of Chéticamp.

Aucoin will present his arguments at a public meeting Saturday hosted by the Nova Scotia Electoral Boundaries Commission.

"This would give us an opportunity to have someone who is bilingual, where we can bring our requests whether in French or English, its an advantage to everyone," said Aucoin.

"We would have a very small riding and we would have two MLAs for Inverness County, so it's a plus."

In its interim report released in November, the commission recommended the restoration of protected seats for the Acadian and African-Nova Scotian communities.

It also included an option to create an extra riding for the Chéticamp area.

Aucoin said the riding should cover the area from Meat Cove, at the northern tip of Cape Breton, south to East Margaree.  

"Yes, it will split the Margarees if that is accepted," Aucoin said. "But you will have two MLAs to work for the Margaree area. To me, it's still an advantage to everyone."

Aucoin said creating a second riding in the county is better than electing two MLAs, one who is Acadian, for the whole of Inverness County.

"That poses all sorts of problems," he said. "How do you decide what's an Acadian? There are not many advantages."

Aucoin worked with the province's Acadian federation in 2012 when it challenged the decision by the former NDP government to do away with the seats.

There are 2,585 electors within the proposed boundaries of the Chéticamp district, which would make it the smallest riding in Nova Scotia, and perhaps in Canada.

"This is breaking new ground, for sure," he said.

The electoral boundaries commission will hold a public hearing from 2-4 p.m. at Le Club des Retraités at 15108 Cabot Trail in Chéticamp.

Simultaneous interpretation services will be available.

About the Author

Yvonne Leblanc-Smith

Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith has been reporting news in Cape Breton since 1981. You can follow her on Twitter @leblancsmith and reach her at yvonne.leblanc-smith@cbc.ca

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