English and French-speaking voters in what is now the riding of Memramcook-Tantramar may be getting a divorce before the next provincial election if the newly-appointed electoral boundaries commission follows through on a commitment made in 2015.
The province announced today that a new six-member commission would be redrawing riding boundaries before the election expected in 2024.
A news release from The Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick (SANB) says that’s good news for the province’s Acadian population because it appears there will be no reduction in the number of ridings.
“This represents a victory for Acadians and Francophones in New Brunswick,” the release adds.
The last redistribution in 2012 united the predominantly English-speaking populations of Sackville, Port Elgin and Dorchester with the predominantly French-speaking one in the Memramcook area.
It shifted French-speaking voters there from a riding where they represented 68% of the electorate to Memramcook-Tantramar where they make up only about 29%.
In 2015, Acadians called off a court challenge when the province adopted a regulation requiring future electoral commissions to take English and French-speaking communities into account when drawing new boundaries.
“The factor of effective representation of linguistic communities is not a factor like any other,” SANB President Alexandre Cédric Doucet is quoted as saying in today’s release.
“It is a factor that must be taken into account, given the constitutional status of language rights as well as the obligations arising from the Act Recognizing the Equality of the Two Official Linguistic Communities in New Brunswick and section 16.1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Aside from the electoral imbalance in Memramcook-Tantramar, the SANB is also counting on the new boundaries commission to correct the situation in the riding of Miramichi Bay-Neguac where French-speakers make up only 35% of voters.
To read the SANB news release, click here.
To read the announcement of the new electoral boundaries commission including bios of the commissioners, click here.