New Brunswick Tribune

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

A redrawn federal electoral map might split Saint John in two

Saint John might be split in half if federal ridings are redistributed.

Key Takeaways:

  • The federal Electoral Boundaries Commission released its proposed revisions on Friday, which would combine Saint John West and Charlotte County.
  • Other proposed changes include including everything within Moncton and Fredericton’s municipal limits in their respective ridings.
  • Lewis points out that the entire region is conservative, with the PCs winning the most recent provincial election.

Saint John would be split into 2 different ridings under a plan to redesign New Brunswick’s ten federal ridings.

On Friday, the federal Electoral Boundaries Commission revealed its proposed amendments, which would see Saint John West paired with Charlotte County. In contrast, the rest of the city might vote with Rothesay and Quispamsis.

The Liberal MP is panning the proposed alteration for what is now Saint-John Rothesay.

Long stated, “It is not healthy for Saint John.”

“You may have two MPs who don’t live in the city representing Saint John.”

While Long is correct that the city of Saint John may be without an MP, the modifications would also make it feasible to have two.

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The portion of the city west of the Saint John River might be absorbed by New Brunswick Southwest, which would become Saint John-Saint Croix. John Williamson, a Conservative MP who lives in St. Stephen, now represents the region.

Long’s current riding includes Quispamsis, which is part of Saint John-Kennebecasis, and Saint John and Rothesay.

Fundy Royal, a neighboring riding, would lose Quispamsis but gain Riverview. Rob Moore, the Fundy Royal MP, presently resides in Quispamsis.

Williasom and Moore were both unavailable for an interview about the new ridings.

Other possible adjustments include containing everything within the municipal limits of Moncton and Fredericton in their respective ridings. The majority of northern ridings underwent minor changes as well.

However, according to political scientist Jamie Gilles, little changes to one map section might have a big impact on the remainder.

Saint John might be split in half if federal ridings are redistributed.
Saint John might be split in half if federal ridings are redistributed. Image from BKsfe

“Every map committee needs to draw the line someplace,” he said. “Unfortunately for folks in Saint John who wanted Saint John to be its riding — the city and surrounding area — it simply doesn’t work because of where the population is concentrated.”

Long narrowly carried Saint John-Rothesay for the Liberals in the last three elections, making it a battleground riding. It will be magnetic to see if the proposed modifications impact the province’s seat count, according to JP Lewis, an associate professor at the University of New Brunswick.

“There are a lot of hypotheticals around this riding,” he added, “but politically, it’s interesting for a riding like Saint John-Rothesay to be split.”

Long has consistently performed well in surveys in Saint John West, but Liberal performances in Quispamsis have been inconsistent. Saint John West, on the other hand, may dilute the primarily rural votes in what is now New Brunswick Southwest.

However, Lewis points out that the entire area is conservative, having voted for the PCs in recent provincial elections.

“It’s like trading one Tory seat in the province for another.”

Source: Global News

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