By Cole Parkinson
Martin Shields updated Municipal District of Taber council on potential changes to the riding, council was able to review their own concerns. At their regular meeting held on Aug. 16, council continued the redistribution discussion after Shields departed from the meeting.
“We’ve heard from Martin about the effects it’s going to have on his constituency. It splits ours in half and I know MP (Glen) Motz (Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner) will represent us well — if that’s how it ends up being split,” stated Reeve Merrill Harris, who also explained he had signed up the M.D. to present their concerns at a meeting in Lethbridge on Aug. 26.
With it being suggested to split the M.D. into north and south for federal elections, many on council expressed concerns about that. Considering the north half would still be a part of the Bow River riding, many councillors voiced their opinion they’d prefer to see the entire M.D. remain in Bow River.
“I think it’s worthwhile to be there, if anything, to let them know our concerns of dividing our municipality. We’ve worked really hard here to not have the river be a geographical boundary and this creates just one more thing, and it’s not even in the same alignment as the provincial divide of our municipality, so here we go again,” said Deputy Reeve Tamara Miyanaga. “At minimum, we should express our concern, as well as validate some of the things MP Shields commented on because many of us are aware of that geographical extreme. When do you get an audience with the MP when he has that many hundreds or thousands of kilometres to crisscross? This is not about the individuals, this is about the divide of our municipality.”
Others failed to see the rationale of splitting municipalities in half to reach the plus/minus five per cent change. With an option to present their case to remain in the Bow River riding, many agreed with attending and presenting.
“I think it’s important to maintain that spot and to present there. I think part of it is, if they’re going to hold us to the plus or minus five per cent, there should be a rationale there,” added Coun. John Turcato. “They should be able to only go beyond that when trying to maintain the wholeness of the municipality. In the south, I see many municipalities in this redefining the boundaries are being divided, a pile of them. I just don’t understand the rationale to that. Dividing the city of Calgary is different, I mean you just move the boundaries and it’s still within the same municipality. Here, we’re dividing multiple municipalities and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of rationale to it.”
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