WHEREAS the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission 2002/03 has released an interim report containing suggested changes to areas, boundaries and names of Albertas 83 electoral divisions; AND WHEREAS section 14 of the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act requires the Commission to take into consideration a number of factors including common community interests, existing municipal boundaries and geographical features; AND WHEREAS many of the proposed electoral divisions are not based on common community interests, existing municipal boundaries and geographical features;AND WHEREAS the division of municipalities into multiple electoral divisions will further confuse residents as they exercise their right to vote and dialogue with MLAs;AND WHEREAS local residents look to the municipal level of government to represent them when dealing with the provincial government;AND WHEREAS the local constituencies are still recovering from the previous changes to the electoral divisions and require additional time to mature and develop a cohesive and effective organization;AND WHEREAS constant change to the electoral districts creates confusion and promotes apathy toward the electoral process;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission to reconsider the proposed electoral boundaries with the objective of encouraging effective representation by recognizing the unique characteristics of rural Alberta, minimizing the fragmentation of municipalities into multiple electoral divisions, respecting common community interests and providing some level of stability for local constituencies.
The proposed provincial electoral boundaries proposed for the central Alberta areas appear to have been established with little regard for municipal boundaries, common community interests and stability of the local constituency. Ponoka County, which is currently served by one constituency, would be split into three electoral districts. Following the 1995/96 Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission, Lacombe County was split into two electoral districts with the west end of the County being included with Rocky Mountain House and the central and east areas of the County included in the newly created Lacombe/Stettler constituency. The boundaries suggested in the 2003/03 Alberta Electoral Boundaries report will now see Lacombe County divided into five different electoral districts.A great deal of time has been spent in bringing the communities together and developing the Lacombe/Stettler constituency into a single cohesive working body. The work and efforts of the residents and local associations will be lost with the boundaries proposed in the 2002/03 Alberta Electoral Boundaries Report.Rural residents already face numerous barriers and challenges in getting access to their elected representatives. The constant change in electoral boundaries and apparent disregard for community interests and municipal boundaries in establishing electoral divisions will only serve to further alienate rural communities.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this matter. However, the AAMDC board has approved a formal submission to the Electoral Boundaries Review Commission, urging the Commission to preserve the current number of rural constituencies and respect municipal boundaries to the greatest extent possible.