MLA applauds Lesser Slave electoral boundary change

But M.D. reeve not a big fan

Chris Clegg (with Joe McWilliams)
For the Lakeside Leader

The electoral boundary review released on Oct. 19 by the Alberta government went over pretty well with some political leaders in the area. Big Lakes County Reeve Ken Matthews, for example, seems relieved.
“It could have been a lot worse,” he says.
Matthews appeared before the commission when it was doing its hearings; the county’s stand was to leave well enough alone, citing the large distances the local MLA has to travel to represent the riding.
“Some MLAs in the city are in their own beds every night,” he says.
Danielle Larivee, one of those rural MLAs with big travel challenges, says she’s pleased with the result, which added Calling Lake to her riding.
“I’m happy with it,” Larivee says. “For Lesser Slave Lake it was a really good outcome.”
Joining the Lesser Slave Lake riding was in fact what Calling Lake residents had asked for. The community had previously belonged to the Athabasca-Redwater riding.
Asked for his comments on the boundary tweak, M.D. of Lesser Slave River Reeve Murray Kerik did not seem to think it did much good when it comes to the basic imbalance in representation between urban and rural areas.
“Rural ridings that are so immense are virtually impossible for any elected official to truly represent all the varied interests. Our municipality would still be part of two different ridings. I have to feel sorry for any MLA that has to try to keep balance in one of these monster-sized ridings.”
The boundary review commission recommended that the boundaries of LSL stay essentially the same, despite the population being 27,818, or 41 per cent below the provincial average.
“The commission recommends that Lesser Slave Lake continue to enjoy (special status), allowing it to have a population up to 50 per cent below provincial average size,” reads the report.
The only other change recommended is that Tall Cree be shifted to another riding.
The change results in LSL still being the only riding in the province with a majority indigenous population.

The new Lesser Slave Lake map: a bit off the top, a bit added on the lower right side.


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