OTTAWA – A backbench Liberal MP is worried his Toronto riding could be eliminated as federal boundary lines are redrawn in Ontario.
An independent commission tasked with changing federal election boundaries has recommended that constituents living in Don Valley East be merged into their neighbouring districts.
Michael Coteau, who represents the riding, said this is an attempt to reduce Toronto’s seats in the House of Commons.
Ontario will still have 122 seats despite the proposed change.
“I don’t think any ridings should be lost in Toronto,” said Coteau in a statement. He has represented the area since 2003 first as a school trustee, then as a provincial politician before he was elected as MP.
“Our community doesn’t even know they have been eliminated (in the proposal).”
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario released its report on Friday following months of public hearings last year. Politicians will now have the opportunity to provide feedback, but final decisions lie solely with the commission.
The report proposes merging Don Valley East into other districts because it will allow the remainder of Toronto’s ridings to remain very close to their existing boundaries.
The commission’s final decision will be released in June, but Coteau said he’s going to fight to overturn the proposal.
“The process is flawed and the results are inconsistent with Toronto’s economic, social and political role in Canada,” Coteau said.
The Constitution stipulates that federal boundaries must be reviewed every 10 years to reflect changes and movements in Canada’s population.
About 116,590 people should live in each Ontario riding, as suggested by the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act. But the commission can depart from that target by 25 per cent to account for community interest, identity or history.
The Ontario commission focused on keeping the population in every riding roughly the same size, and as close to the population target as possible.
Any of its approved changes will take effect during a general election held after April 1, 2024, at the earliest.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2023.
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