Electoral redistribution changed and approved

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Sophie Demers

MRC PONTIAC – On February 1, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Quebec rejected the initial proposal that followed public consultations to divide the Pontiac riding into three ridings. Outaouais elected officials then proposed a new solution which they believe considered the communities of the Outaouais and respected the boundaries of municipalities and the MRC’s. The Commission approved their proposal.

The electoral redistribution process has been ongoing with public consultations held last summer and public hearings in the fall of 2022. The main reason for changing the boundaries of electoral districts is to ensure that each district has proportional political influence.

The approved electoral redistributions will lead to the following changes: Vallée-de-la Gatineau, La Pêche, and Chelsea will be entirely in the Pontiac electoral district; Val-des-Bois and Bowman will remain in the Argenteuil – La Petite-Nation district instead of moving to Laurentides – Labelle; Val-des-Monts will be integrated into Argenteuil – La Petite-Nation distinct; the Western part of Gatineau District 18, Masson-Angers will be withdrawn from Gatineau and integrated into the electoral district of Argenteuil – La Petite-Nation; the northern parts of Gatineau district 10, Limbour and district 13, Carrefour-de-l’Hôpital will be withdrawn from the Pontiac electoral district and integrated into the electoral district of Gatineau; the Township Municipality of Amherst will be in the electoral district of Laurentides-Labelle; the municipality of Mirabel will no longer be part of Argenteuil – La Petite-Nation, it will be integrated into the electoral district of Mirabel.

These changes are set for April of 2024 with the possibility of being pushed back into 2025.

Only Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation will overlap the administrative regions of the Outaouais and the Laurentians. The boundaries of three of the five MRCs in the region are fully respected except for Argenteuil and des Collines-de-l’Outaouais. Excluding Gatineau, no municipality will be divided into several electoral districts.

A new name of Pontiac-Kitigan Zibi was proposed for the electoral district, which received approval from the majority of stakeholders.

Adding “Kitigan Zibi” highlights the Algonquin Anishinabeg First Nations presence on the territory. Kitigan Zibi is one of nine Indigenous nations in Quebec.

Sophie Chatel, Pontiac MP, highlighted that the process for the electoral redistribution is not finished. The report that the commission approved will now be analyzed. If there are more than 10 MPs who oppose it, the report will be brought to committee to evaluate the concerns. “For the Outaouais, there is consensus with all federal MP’s that this proposal is best. I do not foresee any more changes to the electoral redistribution in the upcoming steps of the process,” said Chatel.