The County of Brant wants to let its federal electoral boundaries be.
But those boundaries could be altered as the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario works to redraw riding boundaries to create 15 new seats for the province in the House of Commons to reflect changing demographics.
Under an initial proposed boundary change, the northern part of the County of Brant would become part of a new riding called Kitchener South-North Dumfries-Brant. The riding would include the current electoral district of Kitchener-Conestoga, the portion of Brant riding located north of Highway 403 and Brantford’s northern boundary – including Paris and St. George – and the township of North Dumfries.
County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy said the county’s interests would not be best served under the proposed new riding. He said the Kitchener area’s large population would likely have a greater voice than County of Brant residents within such an electoral district.
“We don’t want to go to (the new riding) because our voice wouldn’t be heard,” Eddy said. “We would be crowded out.”
A proposed altered Brant riding would consist of the City of Brantford, Burford area and Cainsville, as well as the Six Nations and New Credit reserves.
In a recent presentation to the Electoral Boundaries Commission, Eddy cited numerous reasons why the riding’s boundaries should be left alone.
The mayor said Brantford and the County of Brant are working together on joint-servicing discussions in relation to infrastructure, as well as in other areas.
The amalgamation of the County of Brant in 1999 “resulted in a viable, working and co-operative county that works in conjunction with the City of Brantford,” Eddy said.
Splitting the county into two ridings would result in “complicated communications, community interaction and a possible duplication of services,” he said.
County of Brant CAO Paul Emerson said the current Brant riding serves county residents properly.
“It has worked well having Brantford and the County of Brant as one (federal) political unit,” Emerson said. “Although we have an urban and rural mix, a lot of our commerce, employment, recreation and social events are done as an integrated community.
“Our interests may not get the same attention (in a new riding) because a majority of our constituents would be in the Kitchener area. There would be some common interests, but the day-to-day interests of our constituents and issues would not be the same.”
Upcoming public hearings will give voters an opportunity to provide input on proposed boundary changes prior to the commission presenting its final recommendation to Parliament by next February.