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Author Topic: Federal Commission Recommends New First Nations Electoral District
meades
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 625

posted 02 September 2002 03:28 AM      Profile for meades     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From The First Perspective,

Miramichi to contain all NB First Nations Reserves

quote:

While the next federal election is not officially due until February 2004, plans are already underway for
how that election will take place. Every ten years, after a national census, the boundaries of federal
electoral ridings in Canada are reviewed and adjusted as needed. The intention behind the review and
the adjustments is to ensure that every person's vote is roughly proportional to every other person's
vote (that is, that each federal riding has roughly the same number of people), and that some basic
rules about the allocation of seats in parliament between Canada's provinces and territories are
maintained.

The review and adjustment of federal electoral boundaries is carried out by independent commissions
in each province (as Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon each have only one federal
riding, there is no need to review or adjust riding boundaries-the boundaries are the same as the
territorial boundaries).
In reviewing and adjusting the electoral boundaries, the commissioners may take into account the
notion of "community of interests." That is, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act allows for the
possibility of moving beyond geographical criteria when setting electoral boundaries.

Recently, the electoral review commission in New Brunswick has developed an innovative proposal for
ensuring the representation of first nations communities within a single federal riding in the province of
New Brunswick. Under the proposal, all Indian reserves in New Brunswick, no matter what their
location, would be grouped into the single electoral district of Miramichi. The existing Miramichi riding
has a high proportion of first nation reserves located within its boundaries. Under this proposal, the
remaining reserves would also be grouped into the Miramichi riding.

"Regrouping all Indian reserves in one electoral district would allow the currently dispersed
communities to interface with only one Member of Parliament instead of several as is currently the
case," says the commission. "It would also give strength to these communities because their numbers
would no longer be fragmented."

The proposal, if approved by the House of Commons, would be a first in Canada. However, it has
already attracted some negative publicity. A Globe and Mail editorial piece in mid-August called the
proposal "a flawed response to historic injustice."

The author, Colin Feasby, is a Calgary-based lawyer. His article suggests he is worried about the
precedent this new style of representation might set for other communities than first nations
communities. "...the US experience shows that once the question of race-conscious districting opens
for one group, other groups will advance claims. Can we realistically limit ethnic districting in Canada
to Aboriginal people residing on reserves? Or will we witness a proliferation of claims from different
groups?"

Hearings on the proposed new electoral district are set for the fall. At that time, Ottawa Watchers may
hear whether first nations people in New Brunswick support this proposal to concentrate their
representation in the federal parliament.


Thoughts?


From: Sault Ste. Marie | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Brian Knight
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1317

posted 02 September 2002 12:54 PM      Profile for Brian Knight     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Given that governments have been giving extra seats to rural ridings for years, I don't see what the fuss is about extra seats for aboriginals.
From: Edmonton | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pogo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2999

posted 02 September 2002 08:41 PM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Given that governments have been giving extra seats to rural ridings for years, I don't see what the fuss is about extra seats for aboriginals.

I believe the Government of Saskatchewan was ordered to redraw boundries by the Supreme Court. They ruled that there is a limit to the tolerance for riding/constituency disparity.

I agree in general with the Charlottetown Accord proposal which left the House of Commons as the place for geographic based seats and used an elected Senate to represent bigger regions and interests like natives and women that are traditionally underrepresented in the H of C.


From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
meades
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 625

posted 02 September 2002 08:46 PM      Profile for meades     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Given that governments have been giving extra seats to rural ridings for years, I don't
see what the fuss is about extra seats for aboriginals.

I don't think there was any fuss at all- one article in the G&M isn't much for a topic. I was just asking whether people thought this was a good or bad idea.


From: Sault Ste. Marie | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2777

posted 04 September 2002 03:28 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I understand that New Zealand has allocated a certain number of Maori seats in their Parliament for many years.

The most important issue though is how would the First Nations people themselves like to see themselves represented. The First Nations peoples have always had governmental systems imposed upon them from outside.


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged

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