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Electoral boundaries hearing in Red Deer on Friday delayed one hour

Population has increased a lot since last review

The time of the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission hearing in Red Deer has been delayed by an hour.

The meeting is now scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday as part of its provincial review that could eventually see constituency boundaries change. The delay is due to heavy fog in the Peace River region.

Registration to present at the Red Deer hearing is full; however, anyone not presenting can still attend. The meeting is at at the Baymont Inn and Suites and Conference Centre at 4311-49th Ave. Written submissions are being accepted until Feb. 8.

The last review was in 2009-10. Since then the province’s population has increased by more than 20 per cent.

The commission will ultimately make recommendations to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta as to the areas, boundaries and names of the existing electoral constituencies. Consideration is given to the public input, population figures and relative population density throughout the province, common community interests, existing municipal and natural boundaries and effective representation.

Public Interest Alberta (PIA), a non-profit, non-partisan, province-wide organization focused on education and advocacy on public interest issues, is arguing that there is too much variance in population in ridings. For example, one riding in 2015 had a population of 15,000 and another with 46,000.

PIA Executive Director Joel French is urging the commission to ensure political equality by limiting variances to no more than five per cent above or below the population average per constituency.

As well they are proposing that the varying needs of voters in urban, rural, and suburban constituencies are best addressed by providing MLAs with more support to provide effective representation.