O’Toole Disappointed With Durham Riding Changes
Bowmanville – Today, Durham MP Erin O’Toole expressed his disappointment with the release of the final Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission report and its new boundaries for the Durham riding. The Commission is an independent body that was tasked with re-drawing riding boundaries in Ontario to accommodate new ridings being created as a result of population growth in southern Ontario. In their final report, the Commission recommended placing the eastern portion of Clarington into a new riding called Northumberland Pine Ridge. The Commission decided to proceed with these new boundaries despite all levels of government in Durham objecting to the changes and despite an alternative proposal from MP O’Toole that received unanimous support by an all-party committee of Parliament.
This past spring, O’Toole devised a proposal that would have kept Clarington united within a single riding in a way that would not have negatively impacted nearby ridings in any adverse way and was permitted by the legislation governing the process. His plan garnered the support of four neighbouring Members of Parliament and from Clarington council. The O’Toole proposal also relied upon public opinion from a survey he conducted on the riding boundaries and name.
Mr. O’Toole presented his alternative plan at a public hearing of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedures and House Affairs, which was made up of MP’s from all parties. In their report on the Ontario riding boundaries, the House of Commons Standing Committee unanimously supported the proposal made by O’Toole with respect to Clarington with the following comments:
“The Committee would like to compliment Mr. O’Toole’s appearance before the Committee. His PowerPoint presentation which included maps, stated concisely and explained clearly his and the proposal of all Members in the region… The Committee supports the proposals made by Mr. O’Toole…and recommends that the electoral boundaries be readjusted accordingly.” [Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Sixty-First Report, Pg. 34]
The Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission considered the report from the House of Commons Standing Committee before making their final report, but ultimately chose not to deviate from their earlier proposal with respect to Durham and the wider eastern GTA. “I am disappointed that the Commission did not accept my proposal to keep Clarington whole within the Durham riding. While I think their objectives could have been achieved under my proposal, I respect and thank the Commission for their work amid challenging circumstances,” said MP O’Toole. “I would like to thank the many residents who helped me craft my proposal through their advice or by completing my riding survey. Regardless of the future boundaries, I want the residents of Newcastle, Orono,
Newtonville and all parts of Ward 4 to know that I will remain a champion and advocate for them and for all of Clarington.”
They did, however, accept the recommendation made by MP O’Toole with respect to the riding name. They had previously recommended the name Oshawa-Durham for the riding, but agreed with the proposal to keep the riding name of Durham in accordance with historic precedent and public support.
All 10 provincial commissions have now delivered their recommendations to Elections Canada to formally adopt. These new boundaries will come into effect with the next federal election in 2015. A total of 15 seats will be added in Ontario.
For more information on MP O’Toole’s Presentation to the Standing Committee of the House of Commons, including an audio recording of his presentation, please consult the following links: