If you missed the opportunity to voice your opinion on the first draft of electoral boundaries, another opportunity will come.
MLA for Banff-Cochrane, Cameron Westhead, says the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission is bound by law to do a consultation of boundaries every two election cycles to ensure fair representation based on population distribution.
“As populations shift and grow, places like Cochrane have seen an incredible growth but the point of the commission is to ensure that each vote has relatively equal weight in different parts of the province.”
Westhead says there are two phases to the commission's work, and although the first public feedback consultation ended February 8, a proposed draft of shifted electoral boundaries will be seen in May allowing another opportunity for public feedback.
Cochrane Councillor Morgan Nagel, is concerned that Cochrane and other small town’s may be swept up into a Calgary riding, thus reducing the voice for small outlying communities.
“I am quite concerned that our provincial government is increasingly viewing town’s like Cochrane and Okotoks as an extension of the City of Calgary rather than independent municipalities.”
With only 87 seats, boundaries will shift based on population distribution. Westhead, says with Alberta population hovering around 4 million people each of the 87 constituencies represent roughly 49,000 people.
“So each constituency has to try to get as close to that 49,000 number as possible, it can be up to 25% higher or 10% lower than that average."
MLA Westhead says it is premature at this point to presume Cochrane would become a part of a Calgary riding.
"I don't want to predetermine the outcome what the commission is going to present as an initial report. I encourage people to participate in the process, we want constituents to voice their opinion on how they feel they would be best represented."
If it is recommended that Cochrane be moved into a Calgary riding, Westhead says his job as MLA is to represent all people and needs of the constituency equally.
Once the first draft results are released, be prepared to voice your opinion for phase two.