Northern MPs united against boundary changes – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – May 16, 2013)

All five Northern Ontario members of Parliament agree that the federal electoral boundary lines should not change in the region and a “special exception” should be invoked.

Sault MP Bryan Hayes, along with MP’s from Timmins, Nipissing, Algoma and Sudbury all appeared before the standing committee on Procedure and House Affairs last week to tell the committee that the Sault Ste. Marie electoral boundary should not change.

An original report from the boundary commission recommended no changes to the riding but the second report proposes removing Echo Bay, St. Joseph Island, Bruce Mines and the surrounding areas from the Sault Ste. Marie riding and adding them to the Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing riding.

Hayes said the proposed change was strongly opposed by those impacted at a public hearing in Sault Ste. Marie last fall.

“I was disappointed when the commission’s report of hearings in Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, Timmins – James Bay, Sudbury and Nipissing-Timiskaming persuaded a change to the initial recommendations for Northern Ontario,” Hayes said. “For the Electoral Boundary Commission to propose changes to the riding of Sault Ste. Marie, based on results of these hearings shows a complete and utter disregard for the concerns of the constituents impacted in the riding of Sault Ste. Marie in favour of the wishes of other ridings in Northern Ontario,” said Hayes

Hayes said other small changes were made in the other Northern Ontario ridings, but none of those MP’s or their constituents are concerned with those changes.

“I purposely did not attend the hearings because it was clear that the commission was set out to be a grassroots involvement and the commission wanted to hear from people impacted. People went to make their voices heard and when they were not, I was asked to step in and that’s what I did,” Hayes said.

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