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Boundaries commission changes federal electoral ridings for Beach area

Changes have no impact provincially . . . yet
By Ken Shular

October 16, 2003

The federal riding of Beaches-East York have undergone some minor changes as boundaries were redrawn to accommodate population changes.
Voters in this fall’s provincial election for the second time will cast their ballots in the ridings of Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York.

The new provincial ridings were created in 1997 under the fewer politicians act to mirror their federal cousins. But that will all change, at the federal level, starting next year.

The Chief Electoral Officer of Canada recently announced "a draft representation order describing and naming the electoral districts established by the federal electoral boundaries commissions," that had been given to the Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to come into effect for 2004.

The draft order enables the government to increase the number of seats — federal representatives — in the House of Commons to 308, up from 301.

"Representation in the House of Commons is readjusted after each decennial (10-year) census to reflect changes and movements in Canada’s population, in accordance with the Constitution Act, 1867, and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act," is the stated purpose of this exercise.

So what does this exactly mean to the average Joe? Well, when boundaries are redrawn to reflect population trends, where you cast your ballot in the next federal election could very well change. In the redistribution, Ontario, with a population of 11,410,046 (2001 census) received three more seats in the House, increasing its total to 106.

Changes to all but 11 of the 103 current ridings will take place. All 22 of Toronto’s ridings have been altered from minor changes to drastic shifts. Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York, were ridings falling in the latter category.

For almost a year, public hearings were held in various communities and recommendations were filed by a cross spectrum of people to the commission charged with looking at the province’s ridings. In looking at boundary changes across Ontario, the commission tried "as much as is reasonably possible," to respect municipal boundaries, ensuring even population distribution. But in the case of Toronto, it was recommended that if the need arise that ridings could encompass more than one community (hence new ridings like Pickering-Scarborough East).

Beaches-East York Councillor Michael Tziretas (Ward 31) had made a submission requesting that the ridings of Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York, which share a common boundary along Coxwell Ave., actually be redefined with an east-west division along the Danforth. His reasoning was to create a federal ward representative of the former borough of East York. But the commission strongly denied the request after presentations made by MPs Dennis Mills and Maria Minna who represent the ridings respectively.

"The Committee finds this to be perhaps the most egregious example of the potential for the current process to go seriously astray, as well as potentially being open to abuse,’ it was written in the final report. "Both Ms. Minna and Mr. Mills agreed with the Commission’s original proposal to extend Coxwell Avenue right down to the waterfront and back. Because they agreed, and because there was a confidence vote that day in the House of Commons, they did not attend the public hearings.

"It appears from testimony that a local councillor, for reasons outside the purposes of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, and which may have more to do with contentious municipal politics, was able to persuade the Commission to enact a riding adjustment that makes no sense that the Committee can discern. There was no consultation or input from the federal representatives of the region on the change. Nor, does it seem, consultation with the local community occurred."

The new riding of Beaches-East York begins at Victoria Park Ave. and Sunrise Ave.; then proceeds west along Sunrise Ave. and its production to the Don River East Branch; then southwest along the river to Taylor Creek; east along the creek to the northeast production of Coxwell Blvd.; southwest along the production and Coxwell Blvd. to Coxwell Ave.; then south along Coxwell Ave. to Lake Shore Blvd. E.; then in a straight line on a bearing of 210° to Ashbridge’s Bay; then south along the bay to its southerly extremity; due south to the southerly limit of the City of Toronto; then northeast along the border to the southerly production of Victoria Park Avenue; then north.

The population of Beaches-East York is108,913 down from 112,961 recorded in the riding before adjustment.

Toronto-Danforth begins at the intersection of the southerly limit of the City of Toronto with a line drawn due south from the southerly extremity of Ashbridge’s Bay; then proceed due north along the line to the extremity of Ashbridge’s Bay; then generally north along the bay to its intersection with a straight line drawn on a bearing of 210° from the intersection of Coxwell Ave. and Lake Shore Blvd. E.; then in a straight line on a bearing of 30° to the intersection; north along Coxwell Ave. to Coxwell Blvd.; then northeast along Coxwell Blvd. and its production to Taylor Creek; then generally west along the creek and the Don River East Branch to the Don River; west and generally south along the river to the Keating Channel; then west along the channel and its production to the southerly production of Parliament St.; then south to the southerly extremity of the Eastern Channel of Toronto Harbour; then south to the corner of the southerly limit of the City of Toronto at the Outer Harbour East Headland (Leslie Street Spit); then generally northeast along the boundary.

Toronto-Danforth’s population now stands at 109,713, up from 103,153 within original confines.

As it stands, in the upcoming provincial election, all 103 Ontario ridings will remain the same, but in accordance with the fewer politicians act, they will be redrawn for the next election sometime in 2007-08 to match their federal counterparts.

"The Province of Ontario is not affected by the federal boundary change at this time," said Lisa Forte at Elections Ontario. "We follow the representation act which says we have one year of the proclamation date of the draft representation order under the federal act, which has not taken place at this time, so we’re okay for the general election with 103 current ridings.

"We won’t be affected until the next provincial general election. The day the writ is issued at the next provincial election, our boundaries will change to mirror that of the federal electoral boundaries."

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