Justice Bielby, members of the Commission, ladies and gentleman
Thank you for allowing me to make this presentation today.
My name is Alexander Shevalier and I am the President of the Calgary and District Labour Council.
The Calgary and District Labour Council was chartered in May of 1905
We support 60 affiliated union and locals representing 44,000 members.
I’ll start out with population information,
According to the 2016 census Alberta has a population of
4, 067, 175.
The size of each electoral division should be 46, 749 since no seats will be added.
The law allows for a variation of plus or minus 25%.
Making a maximum size of 58, 436 and a minimum size of
I would suggest that you try to keep the size of populations as close as you can get. New Brunswick and Saskatchewan try to keep their variation to 5% and Manitoba within 10%.
That said the law also allows in prescribed circumstances for up to 4 division to be up to 50% below the average.
While this is not ideal it does reflect the Supreme Court decision in Reference Re Prov. Electoral Boundaries (Sask.) that Canadians have a right to effective representation. Justice McLaughlan wrote,
Relative parity of voting power is a prime condition of effective representation. Deviations from absolute voter parity, however, may be justified on the grounds of practical impossibility or the provision of more effective representation. Factors like geography, community history, community interests, and minority representation may need to be taken into account to ensure that our legislative assemblies effectively represent the diversity of our social mosaic. Beyond this, dilution of one citizen’s vote as compared with another’s should not be countenanced.
Just for your information the seat of Lesser Slave Lake is 76, 038 square kilometers which is the same size as the country of Serbia and no major population centres.
In those cases where there is no major population centre I’m sympathetic to the MLAs of remote communities who have such vast distances and areas to represent, but boundaries across the province will have to be redrawn because Alberta has grown and it has not been evenly.
This should not be framed as urban vs rural it is simply demography. The population growth is occurring in Alberta’s cities. Alberta is urbanizing.
The representation needs can be with a generous travel budgets additional offices, internet and phone meetings.
There will need to be a redistribution of seats across the province. The growth across has been focused in Alberta’s cities. Alberta continues to urbanize and that needs to be reflected in the seat distribution.
The City of Airdrie will need to be split into an urban seat and urban rural seat as will the City of Medicine Hat. The population of each city has increased above the maximum of 25% above average.
The City of Calgary will need to have one or two new seats and the City of Edmonton one new seat.
Since 2009 Calgary has added 173,765 people.
That’s a Wood Buffalo and a Red Deer combined.
Calgary has a population of 1, 239, 220. If one divides that into 26 seats it gives us an average population of 47, 662 slightly above the provincial average of 46,749.
If one divides us into 27 seats it gives slightly below average of 45, 897.
If we keep 25 we’re looking at 49,569.
Since 2009 Edmonton has added 150, 107 or the population of Lethbridge and Airdrie combined.
If Edmonton had 20 seats it would give each division a population 46, 627 slightly below average.
If Edmonton had 19 seats it would have 49, 081.
The cities of Lethbridge, Red Deer should keep their seat count. Their population has grown but not to a point where they can add a new seat.
Despite the recession the cities continue to grow. The cities will be where the future growth occurs.
I’m not sure how you’re going to manage the situation in Wood Buffalo, the combination of the Fire and the recession has negatively affected the population and I don’t think it was reflected in the statistics Canada census. I’ll leave that for you to determine.
Within the cities there will need to be redrawing of maps. New communities have been added and some older communities have experienced a decline in their populations.
Please keep communities together. Do not divide communities. A community like Bankview should have a single MLA. This will help to minimize confusion among voters and residents.
The Commission needs to increase the size of each riding to 46,749.
The Commission should minimize the size of the variation between electoral divisions.
The Commission should add two new seats to the City of Calgary.
The Commission should add one new seats to the City of Edmonton.
The cities of Lethbridge and Red Deer should maintain their seats.
The seats in the rest of Alberta will need to be redrawn and redistributed accordingly.
The Cities of Airdrie and Medicine Hat will need to split in a manner similar to Grande Prairie.