MP upset by proposed federal ridings
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 23 août 2012
Irwin Cotler, Liberal MP for the riding of Mount Royal, says the boundary proposals for a new riding are “uninformed, arbitrary and prejudicial.”
Mount Royal riding would disappear, replaced with a much larger territory to be called John-Peters-Humphrey. Humphrey was the Montreal law professor who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The new name is not an issue for Cotler, himself a renowned human rights activist, but he says the new riding boundaries would create divisions in what are now cohesive communities.
For example, the headquarters of the Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs as well as Project Genesis would lay outside the riding while many, if not most, of the people they serve live within it. Irwin Cotler’s own riding office, which has been in the same location since 1984, would not be part of the new John-Peters-Humphrey riding. “What’s the rationale?” he asks. “We are at the heart of the riding, what’s the point?”
The west side of Victoria Ave. would be in John-Peters-Humphrey while the east side of Victoria would lie in Outremont riding. “That means one community will have two MPs, interrupting relationships among groups and causing divisions,” says Cotler. John-Peters-Humphrey would stretch over a much larger territory than Mount Royal now does, taking in Côte St. Luc, the Town of Mount Royal and a large part of Dorval as well. NDG would lie in the new Lachine-Lasalle riding.
The proposed changes were designed by the Federal Electoral Commission, which redrafts the federal riding map every ten years following a census to reflect population shifts. Quebec ridings would increase from a total of 75 to 78.
Cotler says that the fact that the map was drafted without prior consultation with interested parties is “an effective denial of due process.” He says he and other MPs will be filing a brief asking for a postponement of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission hearings starting in Quebec on Sept. 5. He says he expects that municipal representatives will also be on board. Snowdon city councillor Marvin Rotrand and Côte St. Luc city councillor Mike Cohen have already voiced their objections.
The commission will hold public hearings on Montreal ridings on Oct. 1 at the courthouse located at 1 Notre-Dame St. East starting at 9:30 a.m. Those who want more information on the proposed new federal riding boundaries can visit the commission’s website.
[ Gerri Barrer ]