Thanks to an influx of feedback, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission has announced that they have extended the written submission period for federal boundary changes until October 29th, 2022. This means that all residents of Northern Ontario now have additional time to comment on the removal of a riding in the region.
I want to sincerely thank all area Municipal leaders, Chiefs, Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) the Sudbury East Municipal Association (SEMA), the regional Chambers of
Commerce, as well as numerous organizations and individuals for opposing these changes. I strongly encourage residents to continue to make their opinion known.
Eliminating a riding in Northern Ontario is truly a devastating blow to democracy in the north. For those who may not be familiar with the proposed changes, be aware that the Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing riding’s existence is being threatened. To cancel such a riding would significantly expand other riding boundaries such as that of Nickel Belt.
The new proposed riding will essentially eliminate Nickel Belt as we know it and will be renamed Nickel Belt-Manitoulin. This new riding would take in part of Greater Sudbury, Elliot Lake, and Manitoulin Island. These changes impact every riding from east to west. Ridings will be much larger, and the opportunity to access your MP for information related to federal agencies will be drastically reduced.
In fact, if this redistribution happens, the City of Ottawa, which is 300 times smaller in landmass than Northern Ontario, will have more seats and more voices in the House of Commons than our region.
The proposal comes despite a growing population in Northern Ontario and new programs being implemented that will further promote growth in the region.
Just last month, the Honorable Sean Fraser announced that the Government of Canada would be extending the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program (RNIP) period with improvements to
support Community partners, employers and candidates.
The proposed redistribution completely redraws the map of ridings spread out across our region without sufficient consultation of local communities, elected officials, stakeholders, community groups or the consent of the 110 First Nations communities that call Northern Ontario their territory. How are constituents expected to access their MP in such a vast territory? Public transportation is not accessible to connect rural Northern Ontario Communities.
The Provincial Boundary Commission of Ontario acknowledged in 2017 that Northern Ontario was under-represented. Rather than remove seats, the Commission recommended adding two more seats to
raise the total number to 13 representatives.
Nickel Belt has the largest French-speaking population in Northern Ontario and 3rd in the entire province, many of which are Seniors. This proposal will further isolate the rural, francophone and Indigenous communities. All residents deserve adequate representation – this will only result in a lack of participation, commitment and trust in the governing body called to act on their behalf and to provide them with the much-needed/essential services we help to provide.
I urge members of the public to send a written submission on this pressing issue to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario by October 29th.
Please visit redecoupage-redistribution-2022.ca/com/on/phrg/index_e.aspx to make a difference in these discussions. To learn more about the changes, visit marcserre.ca.
Marc G. Serré M.P. Nickel Belt
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Official Languages
2914, Highway 69 North
Val Caron ON P3N1E3