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OPINION: Threat to rural P.E.I.- from media

P.E.I. Electoral Boundaries Commission members, from left, Lynn Murray, chairman Gerard Mitchell, and Kerri Carpenter look over the sample maps for mixed-member proportional system on P.E.I. Monday night was the first in five public meetings seeking input on the maps, which will be used as an educational tool for an electoral reform referendum during the next provincial election.
P.E.I. Electoral Boundaries Commission members, from left, Lynn Murray, chairman Gerard Mitchell, and Kerri Carpenter look over the sample maps for mixed-member proportional system on P.E.I. during the first in five public meetings seeking input on the maps, which will be used as an educational tool for an electoral reform referendum during the next provincial election. - Mitch MacDonald

Journalists ignore potentially devastating map posed under proportional representation report

By DR. GARY MORGAN

(WE THE WEST)

GUEST OPINION

On December 20th, 2017, the premier requested that the Electoral Boundaries Commission undertake the creation of an independent map that would lay out the 18 geographic boundaries inherent in the mixed member proportional model put forward in the 2016 plebiscite.

On March 13, the special report of the P.E.I. Electoral Boundaries Commission was delivered to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The report included the requested map which the commission considers is a fair and reasonable lay-out of the geographic boundaries that a mixed member proportional model would create.

The Electoral Boundaries Commission created this map after holding five public meetings across P.E.I. where it heard comments and concerns from Islanders. It also received four written submissions.

Since that time, there has been no coverage by any of the P.E.I. media of the commission’s report or the map which it has created. This is in spite of the fact that this map is so potentially devastating to rural P.E.I. They have completely ignored the Electoral Boundaries Commission report.

Why has the media been silent on this critical topic? Rural P.E.I. is the economic engine that drives our Island economy with agriculture, fisheries, and tourism. We continue to fight for government services including health and education, and now we must fight against reduced representation in government no matter what system of government is in place.

It is inexcusable that the CBC, ATV, The Guardian, Journal Pioneer, and the Eastern Graphic and West Prince Graphic have not given any attention to this important story. The impact of decreased democratic representation that rural P.E.I. faces under this proposed electoral model will significantly impact all residents of P.E.I., both rural and urban.

The P.E.I. media has a duty to cover this issue and help Islanders understand the perils that loss of democratic representation means to rural P.E.I. Shame on the Island media for not becoming engaged.

- Respectfully, We the West. (On behalf of: Allan Parker, Mill River East; Cletus Dunn, Brooklyn; Andrew Stewart, Campbellton; Jason Ramsay, Fortune Cove; and Dr. Gary Morgan, O’Leary.)

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