OTTAWA – A plan to change ridings in Eastern Ontario will see changes to the Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry riding.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province of Ontario tabled its report to the House of Commons February 10, proposing new boundaries. The proposed changes will see North Glengarry added to the existing SDSG riding, and the riding renamed to Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry.
The riding, if the FEBC report is approved by Parliament, will include all six municipalities in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry, the City of Cornwall, and portions of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne reserve located in Ontario – namely Kawehno:ke (Cornwall Island.)
Since Confederation, never have all three counties which comprise SDG Counties been in the same riding. In 1867, each was its own riding, as was Cornwall proper. As Ontario’s population and provincial boundaries grew, redistricting merged boundaries. The Dundas riding was merged at one time with Grenville. The current boundaries of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry were set in 2003, but excluded the Township of North Glengarry.
Municipal governments including North Glengarry and SDG Counties supported the redistricting to add North Glengarry to the riding. Submissions from the public earlier in 2022 did not all support that move. North Glengarry has the highest Francophone population of the six municipalities (35 per cent) and there were concerns that excluding the area from the Prescott-Russell area, which is majority Francophone, would lead to under-representation.
The commission noted from public submissions that SDG Counties does not translate its website into French. Others cited that resources for French and English schools in North Glengarry brought that area into conflict with other municipalities that are part of SDG.
The Commission ruled that restoring the “territorial integrity” of SDG was a benefit, and that Franco-Ontarian representation in the riding would remain. South Glengarry and North Stormont each have 26 per cent of their populations identified as Francophone in the 2021 Census. Cornwall has 19 per cent Francophone.
“The commission noted there is a strong record of the existing Franophone district having elected Francophone MPs,” the report said.
The new SDG riding will have a population of 114,637 people, which is 1.68 per cent lower than the base Ontario average riding population – once the changes are approved.
Members of Parliament now will have until May 2023 to file any objections to the boundary changes. A final representation order will be made in September 2023, with the new federal electoral boundaries going into effect April 1, 2024.
As Canada currently has a minority Parliament, should a federal election be called before April 1, 2024, the existing riding boundaries will be used.
Editor’s Note – This story has been corrected from its original print version to clarify the riding population size.