The federal government is increasing number of MPs and as a result, electoral districts are being redrawn in areas that are getting new electoral ridings. Halton is one such area that will now have five MPs. As a result, the Federal Electoral District Commission is proposing new boundaries and soliciting public input.
Their initial plan created a new riding of “Milton”, which included all of Milton and some parts of Burlington. We were all mostly happy with it. But suddenly, and in a very confusing way, the commission has now decided to split Milton in two, putting northern Milton in the Halton Hills riding and the southern Milton with the Burlington riding.
What makes the entire plan confusing is that their website still points to the original proposal. However, you have to dig further and that’s when you’ll find this fine print :-
- The Commission is proposing a new electoral district to be named Burlington North–Milton South. It would be comprised of the balance of the City of Burlington not included in the electoral districts of Burlington and Oakville North–Burlington, plus that part of the Town of Milton lying south of Derry Road to Tremaine Road, north to Steeles Avenue, east to the railway line, south of the railway line to Derry Road, east on Derry Road to Cedar Hedge Road, then north to the southern boundary of the Town of Halton Hills, and east along that boundary to the municipal boundary of the Town of Milton.
- The Commission is now proposing a new electoral district to be named Halton Hills–Milton. It would be comprised of the balance of the Town of Milton not included in the electoral district of Burlington North–Milton South, plus the Town of Halton Hills.
Aside from the fact that the proposal is overly arbitrary with no visual map, the description is extremely ambiguous and confusing. After spending hours on it I still cannot figure out what it really means and how it’s dividing Milton. But one thing is clear, it’s drawing a line arbitrarily through urban Milton to put one chunk with the “Halton Hills – Milton” riding and the other chunk with the “Burlington North – Milton South” riding. It’s even worse than what we have today since right now the Halton riding includes all of Milton.
It might be a good proposal for political parties, but it’s a horrible proposal for Milton. The Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act of 1985 requires the Commission to consider the “community of interest or the community of identity” in determining the electoral district. Their current proposal creates boundaries that do not meet that bar. In fact, people in Milton associate themselves with Milton, not with Halton Hills or Burlington. Milton is very distinct from both of those communities.
I am making a motion on Monday for the Administration & Planning Committee to ask the commission to keep Milton intact along its municipal boundary that creates a unique community with its own history and identity. You can click here to see my notice of motion.
If you too are concerned about Milton not getting proper representation at higher levels of government despite its unique identity and growing population, please give feedback to the commission by emailing them at: email@example.com. In addition, there is a public hearing on Wednesday, November 21, 2012, at 9:30 a.m., at the Holiday Inn & Suites, 2525 Wyecroft Road, in Oakville.
Boundaries are not redrawn every day, this issue will impact Milton for years to come. I hope you let the commission know that you don’t want to see the town of Milton divided into Halton Hills and Burlington ridings.