Tuesday, January 27, 2015

MNL AWAKENS TO REALITY OF LEGISLATED CUTS TO HOA

The horse is galloping away and the barn door has been slammed shut on the 2015 boundaries commission. The unelected Justice Minister (great optics by the way) has initiated the electoral boundaries review by requesting that the Province's Chief Justice appoint a chair.

Now that the barn door is closed, a number of groups are waking up to the reality that the proposed cuts might not have been that well thought out. 

Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador is expressing concerns that the reduced number of MHAs may hurt rural representation. Go figure. If the divisor used by the commission is only 36 (or possibly 34) the result is going to be a much larger percentage of seats and representation in the new House of Assembly coming from the North East Avalon - where 60% of the provinces population actually resides.

President Churence Rogers says ""There has to be expansion of the rural seats." The former Liberal candidate and party president may want to have his excellent staff review the 1991 Supreme Court of Canada Provincial Electoral Boundaries Reference which dealt with the validity of the ways and means by which electoral districts are created in Canada. It also dealt with the principle of "one person-one vote" and defined "other" factors that can be used to create districts other than population.

In fact, deviations from the formula are subject to Charter Challenges, so much of the hyperbole about enhancing and protecting rural regions from the impact of the reduction in seats was hogwash. In fact. I strongly believe that Bill 42 could already be challenged based on providing Labrador with four seats for a total population of 26,000. It would be a hurdle for the government to defend a Charter Challenge regarding Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair district which may no longer meet the geographic isolation test if challenged.

MNL may want to study the impact that this loss of influence will have on budget and decision making by governments that will no longer be under the "electoral" leash and chain of rural newfoundands disproportionate representation around the caucus tables.

The loss of influence will have serious consequences on the provision of services from ferries and roads to doctors clinics.

The long overdue absurdity of protecting sacred romantic cows may shift to a wholesale slaughter.




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