The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) wants northern Ontario to keep its ten ridings and Members of Parliament.
That’s one of a few recommendations to the Federal Electoral Districts Redistribution – Ontario Commission.
Under the proposal, the commission says the region would drop from ten to nine ridings.
“FONOM would ask that the Commission retain the current ten Electoral Districts as they are today, plus the planned Indigenous Representation,” states a letter from Danny Whalen, FONOM President.
He also says with the region being geographically large, current MPs already have difficulty fairly representing their constituents.
“The MPs do an admirable job and represent Canada well, but we believe the new alignments will make their efforts even more difficult,” Whalen writes.
FONOM is also recommending that consultation in the north be increased and extended until January 2023.
Along with a virtual opportunity, Whalen’s letter says the only in-person consultation is happening in Timmins on October 11, which is during the municipal election and hunting season.
“The timing of the Commission’s consultation highlights a further lack of understanding for our part of Ontario,” states the letter.
The virtual hearing involving northern Ontario is scheduled for Oct. 26.
A draft resolution going before council in St. Charles on Sept. 17 also points out that a large Francophone area will be impacted with changes to Sudbury-East.
“By removing St. Charles, Markstay-Warren and West Nipissing it would make it extremely difficult to advocate for our francophone population and would be detrimental for those municipalities being forced into mostly anglophone ridings,” states the resolution.
The proposed changes would see West Nipissing added to the North Bay area in a new Nipissing federal riding.
According to the commission’s website, the proposed changes won’t come into effect until April 1, 2024, at the earliest.
***With files from Richard Coffin