The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry may soon be even more united if proposed boundary changes to federal ridings are approved.
Currently, the boundaries of the SD&G United Counties do not correspond to the similarly-named federal electoral riding of Stormont – Dundas – South Glengarry. The Counties comprise six townships, named after the north and south divisions of each of the three counties. However, the electoral riding omits the Township of North Glengarry, which includes the towns of Alexandria and Maxville. North Glengarry is currently a part of the federal riding of Glengarry – Prescott – Russell.
Under the proposed changes, the new riding of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry would have boundaries corresponding to those of the United Counties, plus the City of Cornwall and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne community of Kawehnoke, which are currently part of the riding. While the Glengarry – Prescott – Russell riding would lose the “Glengarry” part, it is expected that it would also gain small parts of east Ottawa as part of the restructuring.
The proposed changes are not unique to our local area. Once every 10 years, or every second census, federal riding boundaries are re-evaluated based on the population information generated by the census. The purpose is to ensure fairness in terms of the number of people in each riding, which determines how many people are represented by each elected Member of Parliament. Under the current process, Ontario is proposed to gain an entirely new riding, which would add a new seat in the House of Commons. If the changes move forward, it will be the first time that all townships of the United Counties are included in the same federal electoral riding.
Changes to the federal riding are made independently from changes to the provincial riding boundaries. The current recommendation regarding the SDSG boundary changes has been received and tentatively accepted by the electoral commission. A subsequent 24-day public consultation period is set to come to an end within the next few days. The final approval for the changes will go to the Chief Electoral Officer. If the final approval is received, the riding boundaries will continue to exist as they are until April of 2024, at which time the new changes would take effect.
Current SDSG Member of Parliament Eric Duncan made a social media post notifying his followers of the proposed changes, but he did not respond to a request for further comment by deadline.