Commission says riding populations closer to being even than last review
An Elections Canada ballot box
P.E.I.'s ridings won't look any different in the next federal election after the group tasked with reviewing them decided not to make any changes.
Supreme Court Justice Gordon Campbell, chair of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for P.E.I., said the biggest factor in not making any changes was the fact the populations in each riding were closer to being even than the last time they were reviewed.
"There were no changes in the demographics or the population numbers," he said.
Every 10 years, a judge in each province leads a three-member commission in a review of the electoral boundaries. This year, Campbell led P.E.I.'s commission, which included former judge Armand DesRoches and retired teacher Eugene Murphy.
During the last review, there were boundary changes in P.E.I. when Stratford was added to the Cardigan riding and Charlottetown took in all the amalgamated communities in the city.
If P.E.I.'s ridings were divided evenly in four based on the population from the last census, each electoral district would consist of 35,051 people.
Cardigan is the biggest riding by population and Charlottetown the smallest, although the biggest population variance is less than three per cent.
Campbell said the starting point for the commission is to try and get ridings that are as equal in population size as possible, with a maximum variance of 25 per cent.
"The objective is to get as close as reasonably possible to voter parity or population parity," he said.
Along with the population, the commission also has to consider what Campbell called communities of interest, geographic considerations and historical voting patterns.
Campbell used the movement of a few hundred people from Cardigan to Charlottetown as an example of a group that wouldn't be well served by a change.
"The ultimate goal is effective representation," he said.
Members of the public were able to make submissions about any potential changes, but Campbell said the commission only received one email before the Oct. 1 deadline.
It was from someone in Ontario who essentially congratulated the commission on its decision, Campbell said.
"Saying you're absolutely right not to make any changes."
There were five public meetings scheduled as part of the review, but since there weren't any notices of presentations from the public the commission cancelled all but one.
Campbell said a meeting at Charlottetown Rural High School will go ahead on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.
The commission will be at the meeting to address any questions or concerns from the public, he said.