Proposed constituency boundaries reflect rural-to-urban migration in Saskatchewan

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Proposed constituency boundaries reflect rural-to-urban migration in Saskatchewan

Many rural constituencies would have larger boundaries, two would become urban only. Elections SK has taken steps to make voting easier during the pandemic, but some say COVID-19 restrictions are keeping them from the polls. REGwp Recommendations from the commission appointed to put together a new electoral map for the province would see two constituencies become urban only, while creating one new mixed rural-urban constituency. Advertisement 2 This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. The overall effect of the recommendations would see the province keep the same 61 seats in the provincial Legislature, but with new constituency boundaries that reflect a decades’ worth of people increasingly choosing to live in larger urban centres. “The three of us reached a consensus rather quickly that, yes, there are certain peculiarities when you have a rural area that’s diminishing in population. You really have no other choice, but to expand that constituency,” said Justice Donald Layh, a Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench judge appointed to chair the Constituency Boundaries Commission. Layh was joined on the commission by one representative each from the Saskatchewan Party and the NDP with the Sask. Party sending Joe Donleavy, a former chief of staff to former premier Brad Wall, and the NDP represented by Frank Quennel, who served as justice minister under Lorne Calvert. Under provincial law, an independent commission is struck every 10 years to reset the constituency boundaries. The commission doesn’t make any recommendations about the two northern constituencies of Athabasca and Cumberland, as these boundaries are fixed under the law, and the constituencies themselves are exempt from a formula that seeks to neatly divide the rest of the province’s voters between the remaining 59 seats. For the 2022 redrawing, the target was to split 844,032 eligible voters into constituencies with between 13,590 and 15,021 people. Layh said they did this by weighing a number of factors, including trying where possible to preserve previous boundaries to avoid confusing people. Advertisement 3 This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. “Sometimes it’s geographical matters, you don’t want to have people look for a bridge to cross the river,” Lay said. “We paid attention to simple boundaries, that we would try to keep it within a particular municipality. So there were a number of considerations. Where’s the next polling station? What’s the community of interest? And sometimes we had to —in the rural areas— often had to expand the constituency.” Along with some larger rural constituencies, previous urban-rural ones in Saskatoon Stonebridge-Dakota and Regina-Wascana Plains would become urban-only. A new rural-urban riding called Martensville-Blairmore  would be created, with Warman becoming its own urban riding. “Martensville and Warman grew quite a bit, as no one in Saskatchewan would be surprised to hear,” Layh said. Now that the commission’s interim report has been released, there will be public consultations at nine different locations in Saskatchewan in the first two weeks of September. Once those are complete, the commission will revise its recommendations and submit a final report to the Legislative Assembly, which has the final word on redrawing constituencies. Want to know how we decide what to cover and how editorial decisions are made at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post? Get the weekly Letter From the Editor newsletter from the Editor in Chief Russell Wangersky and join the discussion on what goes into covering news and delivering commentary, both in print and online. Click here to subscribe. Saskatoon StarPhoenix Afternoon Headlines We deliver the local news you need in these turbulent times on weekdays at 3 p.m. By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300Read More

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