The province's Electoral Boundaries Commission held a public consultation session in Clare on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 14.
Around 300 people turned out for the session that was aimed at giving the public an opportunity to respond to a revised interim report that proposes the riding of Clare be replaced with a new riding called Clare-Yarmouth, which includes the riding of Clare and a large part of the Municipality of Yarmouth.
All the presenters at the Tuesday meeting, held at the campus of Université Ste. Anne, were of the opinion that the first interim report should stand. Those on hand sent a clear message to the Electoral Boundaries Commission that nothing less than the status quo is acceptable.
In the commission’s first interim report it had recommended the status quo for the three protected Acadian ridings in the province: Clare, Argyle and Richmond. However the provincial government rejected the first report because the populations of the ridings the commission proposed did not meet the required population variances as outlined in the commission’s terms of reference.
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During the Aug. 14 session in Church Point, one of the points made by Clare Warden Jean Melanson was that the municipality wasn't prepared to assist the electoral commission by going over the same ground again. The points, he said, had been clearly articulated in the first round of public hearings. Melanson said the electoral commission had taken those points into consideration in making its interim report and the interim report's recommendations were the only acceptable alternative for the people of Clare.
The session in Clare came one day after a public information session was held in Yarmouth and attended by around 2,500 people. At that meeting people urged the commission not to divide the riding of Yarmouth, as it has proposed in its revised interim report. People also called for the status quo for the Acadian ridings of Argyle and Clare, even though they were told at the start of the meeting that the commission has been told that the status quo is not an option.
Here are photos from the meeting that was held in Church Point.
A story that will include remarks from the presentations that were made to the commission will be posted later.