Whitehorse Daily Star

Riding boundaries meetings being well-attended

With the territory’s electoral ridings map open for rejigging before the next general election,

By Taylor Blewett on February 26, 2018

With the territory’s electoral ridings map open for rejigging before the next general election, the Yukon Electoral District Boundaries Commission is hosting a series of public meetings.

The purpose is to gather feedback on the changes it proposed in a report last November.

Lori McKee is a commission member and the territory’s chief electoral officer.

She told the Star in an interview earlier this month that a “common theme” emerged from the six public meetings the commission has held thus far.

That theme was the relationships between different communities that comprise an electoral district – neighbourhoods, cities, towns, villages, First Nations, unincorporated communities – and their lifestyles and community priorities.

Meetings have been held in Teslin, Marsh Lake, Carcross, Tagish, Mount Lorne and Whitehorse.

The commission’s interim report was submitted to the legislature Nov. 17, 2017.

It proposed a number of boundary changes based on the desire to connect areas with “common characteristics and travel patterns,” “shared community interest” and “geographic and cultural ties.”

A number of letters submitted prior to the report’s publication stressed the need for riding changes based on community compatibility, or lack thereof, in what is currently the Pelly-Nisutlin district.

Last July, Faro Mayor Jack Bowers wrote to the commission on behalf of town council, the Ross River Dena Council, the Teslin Tlingit Council and the Village of Teslin council, asking for Pelly-Nisutlin to be split into two separate constituencies.

“The new ridings should represent those communities whom have much in common, both geographically and culturally,” Bowers wrote.

In September 2017, Chief Richard Sidney of the Teslin Tlingit Council and Teslin Mayor Clara Jules wrote to the commission. They suggested new boundaries that recognize there are “few cultural or historical connections” between Teslin and the Faro/Ross River area.

Ross River and Watson Lake are “more aligned culturally and politically” as part of the Kaska Nation, Sidney and Jules noted.

They also suggested that Teslin would more appropriately be grouped with Carcross and Tagish, with which it has closer ties.

These submissions appear to have informed the proposed dissolution of Pelly-Nisutlin into three new electoral districts: Carcross-Tagish-Teslin, Mayo-Carmacks-Faro and Watson Lake-Ross River.

The boundaries of the current districts of Mayo-Tatchun, Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes, and Watson Lake would also be affected by these changes.

A major stakeholder has taken issue with the proposed configuration, however, and wrote to the commission last December to share his views.

Carcross-Tagish First Nation (CTFN) Khà Shâde Héni (chief) Andy Carvill requested that CTFN remain in the Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes district.

Under the proposed boundaries, it would be integrated into the new Carcross-Tagish-Teslin district.

“In regards to Teslin’s written submission for Carcross and Tagish to join their area, we lovingly reject the idea in favour of welcoming them back to the Southern Lakes District,” Carvill wrote.

“It is not in CTFN’s best interest to be moved away from the areas addressed in our Final Agreement, including the reality that almost the entire west side of Marsh Lake is CTFN land that is set aside for future residential development.”

The First Nation also wants to pursue geotourism in the Southern Lakes area as a means of economic development, according to Carvill’s letter.

“It does not make sense, to us, to move us to another boundary area. We respectfully request that Teslin rejoin the Southern Lakes Electoral Boundary, where we all share common concerns and aspirations.”

Written submissions and the feedback gleaned from public meetings will be considered in the commission’s drafting of its final boundary recommendations, according to McKee.

The commission is halfway through its 12 scheduled public meetings, and so far, they’ve been very well-attended, she said.

“People take a real interest in their communities.”

McKee said Yukoners have proposed alternate boundary configurations in response to the commission’s report.

The commission is mandated to consider public input in making proposals for future riding boundaries, but it also has to weigh a number of other factors, including:

• density and future growth;

• accessibility, size and geographical features;

• facilities, travel patterns and means of communication;

• census data, current elector population and demographics;

• any special circumstances of existing electoral districts; and

• municipal and First Nations boundaries.

“There was certainly an understanding that the commission had to balance views of a particular community, with the bigger picture of the boundaries across Yukon,” McKee said of the public input process.

The commission will host another round of meetings in March, in Pelly Crossing, Mayo, Carmacks, Faro, Ross River and Watson Lake.

Meetings were scheduled in every community where a commission visit had been requested, McKee said. Requests were solicited last November.

Written submissions will also be accepted until March 10.

The commission’s final report has to be submitted to the legislative assembly by April 20.

Subsequently, the government will introduce legislation to establish electoral districts for the next two general elections.

The full interim report, public meeting schedule, and the commission’s contact information are available at www.yukonboundaries.ca.

Comments (8)

Up 1 Down 0

Yukon Watchdog on Mar 3, 2018 at 11:08 am

@ PSG. You mean like Streicker who sat as a Whitehorse counselor when he actually lives at Marsh Lake? Who does he represent now? I've lost track he flip flops so much from one party to the next, from one riding to the next... The only consistent thing seems to be his thirst for power.

Up 4 Down 0

Josey Wales on Feb 28, 2018 at 9:51 pm

Hey wilf...simply put if I cannot vote in the cultural elites elections, then by default I care not about issues cultural elites have within Canada’s.
The pun? Under Trudeau and Trudeau 2.0 and their globalist fetish, our sovereignty, our individuality, and yes our freedoms have clearly degraded.

Up 1 Down 1

Wilf on Feb 28, 2018 at 6:11 pm

Jose what do you think of the cultural differences/similarities between Ross R. , Watson Lake and Teslin. Does Mr. Carvilles concerns make any sense to you?
Sorry, I couldn't find any pun.

Up 1 Down 6

Sally Wright on Feb 28, 2018 at 10:03 am

We need Electoral reform.
What good is any of this when 30% of the vote can get 100% of the power?
Look at the mess the false majority Yukon Party Government left us. A huge legal bill for the Peel case, a climate change belching YEC LNG plant, a $100 million debt for 10 MW Mayo B (that's not working), and as revealed by the Auditor General's report, an almost obsessive neglect of our Climate Change commitments. They almost got away with Fracking the Whitehorse Trough, until the real majority stepped up and said no.
Now we've had a reaction vote against Yukon Party and because of our flawed first-past-the -post voting system, the Yukon Liberals have another false majority. The false-starts, back pedaling, lack of consultation and the backroom power-dealing continues, these are all hallmarks of a bad voting system.

Up 2 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Feb 27, 2018 at 4:12 pm

If you would like to better understand all of what is important in these discussions, Elections Yukon publishes a report following each general election and provides important data by riding. Read the 2016 report here: http://www.electionsyk.ca/en/docs/English%20WEBSITE%202016%20Election%20Report.pdf

Up 4 Down 0

wundering on Feb 27, 2018 at 9:19 am

Is one of options being considered to leave everything the way it is?

Up 6 Down 0

Josey Wales on Feb 27, 2018 at 6:49 am

A couple points...if borders matter not for our nation, then why the fuss for political electoral boundaries?
Much like our nations borders being erased, the shifting of arbitrary zones of real estate is for political advantage and nothing else.
Elections in general have morphed into theatre of illusion, modern day snake oil sales, a bunch of liars supporting other liars in their pursuit to lord over us.
I find the whole thing, in particular Trudeau and Trudeau 2.0 very revolting.
Pun absolutely intended, assuming it survives the edit.

Up 6 Down 0

ProScience Greenie on Feb 26, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Not sure about the boundary thing but it would be nice if we had a rule saying that when an election is called, only a full time resident of the riding can run in the riding. That would allow for better representation of the people living in the riding which is what a democracy is all about.

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