Click on the Newspaper on the right to see the full newspaper Updated on May 15, 2013
Political parties, municipalities and organizations responded Friday and will continue doing so next month to proposals by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for changes to federal riding boundaries and riding names. The changes are being proposed to reflect population shifts in the Canadian census every 10 years.
During the first session Friday morning at the Palais de Justice , Papineau MP Justin Trudeau presented the Liberal Party's overall case, while individual MPs Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal), Stéphane Dion (St. Laurent-Cartierville), Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac St. Louis), Denis Coderre (Bourassa) and Massimo Pacetti (St. Leonard) made their individual cases. The party has its own proposed riding boundary and name changes which would involve 18 ridings for Montreal, as now exists, as opposed to the commission's proposed 19. There were also representatives from the Conservatives and NDP.
In Mount Royal, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission is proposing the riding be named after human rights pioneer John Peters Humphrey. The riding currently includes all of Côte St. Luc, Hampstead, Town of Mount Royal and part of Côte des Neiges/NDG. The commission is proposing that the new riding lose a sliver of Côte St. Luc close to Montreal West, include Dorval and part of St. Laurent (including the industrial park and Technoparc), lose some of Town of Mount Royal and end at the western half of Victoria Avenue in Côte des Neiges.
The Liberals are proposing that the riding not be changed at all. Cotler, who has lived in the riding for 56 years, told commission members that the proposed changes would have “a significant - and prejudicial - impact on the history, physical integrity, population, and community of interest and identity, of Mount Royal.” He made the following points in his arguments:
• The Quebec riding population quota is 101,321, and Mount Royal's population is 101,273.
• Parts of municipalities from outside the riding would be included, such as St. Laurent, Villeray-Parc Extension and Dorval. “These territories have no contiguous territorial connection to Mount Royal - or indeed any historical connection to the riding - and will create divisions and disturbances in the existing municipalities and communities.”
• The enlarged riding would be divided by highways and other barriers.
• Placing part of Côte St. Luc in another riding goes against the commission's guidelines and “the principles as forth by the Supreme Court of Canada of existing municipal boundaries continuing to serve as natural electoral boundaries.” Côte St. Luc council passed a resolution opposing the proposed change.
• “The proposed changes not only dismember the physical integrity of existing municipalities, but seriously erode the community of interest and identity.”
• The Mount Royal riding office would no longer be in Mount Royal, as it is just past the eastern side of Victoria in Côte des Neiges. The Jewish General Hospital would also be outside Mount Royal.
• Opposition to the proposed changes has also come from the borough of Cote-des-Neiges - NDG, “and a host of major institutions and communities,” including “representatives of the local Filipino community, the Vietnamese community, the Montreal Jewish community - itself some 36 percent of the population of Mount Royal, the largest such group - and with its various institutions and groups such as the Jewish General Hospital, and major community centres such as the YM-YWHA Jewish Community Centre of Montreal; and numerous others.”
• Cotler pointed out that while he has “the greatest respect and admiration” for John Humphrey, a former Hampstead resident, former law professor and colleague of the MP, and one of the drafters of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “this does not nonetheless warrant the name change, given the history of the Mount Royal riding, and the associations bound up with its name.”
The Town of Hampstead, represented by Mayor William Steinberg and Councillor Bonnie Feigenbaum, said there were “serious problems” with the proposed changes.
• The new riding would have “significantly more voters than any of the neighboring ridings,” with 104,628 potential voters.
• John Peters Humphrey would be twice the size of Mount Royal and be separated by highways. “For an island riding, it should be possible to walk from one neighbourhood to another. This is no longer true of the new riding.”
• The new riding would contain Trudeau Airport and the St. Laurent industrial areas, while Mount Royal “is almost totally residential and has no industrial areas.”
• Hampstead council passed a resolution opposing the change.
The City of Côte St. Luc will be submitting a brief when the hearings continue next month.
The Jewish General Hospital's brief, quoted in Cotler's, “strongly recommends the boundary be unchanged; as a key institution in the riding… the proposed changes would sever the hospital from its historic roots of 75 years - the first such change since its founding in 1934…and would create a political separation between the hospital and a large portion of the Jewish community and many other community organizations and healthcare institutions in the area. …The area now designated as …Mount Royal would no longer be served by a single MP with a clear focus and understanding of issues unique to…population and institutions…This is of particular significance where healthcare professionals are called upon to advocate in federal immigration-related matters on behalf of a patient or relatives…this has been accomplished efficiently by having a single MP.”
The YM-YWHA Jewish Community Centre's brief, also quoted in Cotler's, expressed “deep concerns” as “this significant communal institution in the Mount Royal riding for the past 60 years, has 74 percent of its members residing in the current boundaries of the Mount Royal riding.”
Nicolas Thibodeau, former NDP candidate in Mount Royal, said the party's riding association has its own proposal.
“Instead of having three different communities, as we have right now in Mount Royal, we would rather see a redistribution with two communities - the existing Côte St. Luc/Hampstead, going down Victoria as proposed and getting the southeast tip of St. Laurent (in the area of Ste. Croix near the Metropolitan Autoroute), and to have the limit at L'Acadie (the area dividing TMR and Park Extension),” he said.
Why include part of St. Laurent?
“Because of the socio-demographic aspect and how the community can interact... in terms of the socio-economic backgrounds of both communities,” Thibodeau said.
For St. Laurent-Cartierville, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission is proposing changing the riding's name to Macdonald-Langstaff, after Annie MacDonald Langstaff, “the first woman to earn a law degree in Quebec, in 1914,” according to Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission documentation.
The proposed boundaries would also include parts of Dorval, Dollard des Ormeaux and part of Pierrefonds-Roxboro, but the St. Laurent industrial park and Technoparc would be in the proposed John Peters Humphrey riding. The Liberals' counter-proposal is that the riding just be called St. Laurent and be within that borough, as St. Laurent is experiencing much population growth.
Riding MP Stéphane Dion told the commission that his concerns were echoed by St. Laurent mayor Alan DeSousa, the St. Laurent Chamber of Commerce, St. Laurent MNA Jean-Marc Fournier and local organizations. Dion said he is proud to represent St. Laurent and Cartierville, but the riding's population, now more than 117,000, is the largest federal riding on Montreal island, and is too high for the Quebec quota.
“We should not cut St. Laurent, and put the industrial park outside the riding,” Dion told The Suburban. “It would be awful. It's a great community that we can keep together. There is a lot of solidarity within the riding.”
Dion added that the St. Laurent riding name has existed for a long time, and very few people know who Macdonald-Langstaff was, “although she played a great role.
“People have no idea what her connection is with St. Laurent,” the MP said
Regarding Cartierville, “they cut that into two different ridings, and one will be called George-Etienne Cartier, so part of the people in Cartierville won't be in George-Etienne Cartier. It doesn't make sense to me. And the part of Cartierville that would be brought together with St. Laurent is not very strong economically - people are struggling. Many of the people don't speak English or French, and they need the support. We should not isolate them; the way [the proposed change] would do it.
“We need to keep St. Laurent together and Cartierville together with Ahuntsic, because it's what we have at the municipal level.”
For NDG-Lachine, the Liberals agree with the proposed name change to Lachine-LaSalle, but the party wants the former Ville St. Pierre - now part of Lachine- kept in the new riding. The commission proposes removing the Ville St. Pierre area. The Liberals do not want Lachine divided.
For Westmount-Ville Marie, the Liberals agree in large part with the commission's proposals to keep all of Montreal West, NDG and Westmount, but the party wants to keep the area of Côte des Neiges south of Queen Mary in the riding, “because this population identifies with Westmount.” The Liberals also propose keeping all of Côte St. Luc within Mount Royal, and not have a small sliver in the new riding. The commission proposes a riding name change to Wilder Penfield, but the Liberals propose Westmount-NDG.
For Outremont, the Liberals want the existing boundary to remain between that riding and Mount Royal, and for Mount Royal not to end at the western half of Victoria in Côte des Neiges.n
Click on the Newspaper on the right to see the full newspaper Updated on May 15, 2013
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