The federal government could eliminate one riding from the city of Toronto and current city councillors are raising a red flag over the issue and the repercussions at the local and provincial level. Now, 24 of the 25 members of Toronto city council have jointly signed a letter to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario in opposition of the proposed federal electoral district redistribution.
What is being proposed is the elimination of the riding of Don Valley East at the federal level, which is the riding of MP Michael Coteau.
The concern is that eliminating the riding at the federal level likely would mean trickle down to cutting the provincial and municipal seats as well. The proposed redistribution would reduce City of Toronto electoral districts from 25 to 24
Willowdale city councillor Lily Cheng (pictured above) is spearheading the opposition.
“At a time when the City of Toronto is facing unprecedented challenges in the middle of a housing and mental health crisis, in addition to a massive budget shortfall, we simply cannot afford to lose any seats at the Federal table,” said Cheng. “As the fastest growing city and economic engine of Canada, Toronto should have more representation, not less. We are a world-class city and to make sure Toronto’s success continues we need to keep working with all levels of government. That starts with ensuring residents are fairly represented.”
According to the report, the change would eliminate Don Valley East, with a portion of the riding east of the Don River merged with Scarborough Centre, a portion west of the Don River joining a new riding called Don Valley South, and a smaller portion joining Don Valley North.
Big thank you to all the residents in Don Valley East who came to our second meeting on riding redistribution. Over 400 people attended both meetings and the message was clear!
“We deserve to be listened too, this is what democracy is all about!” pic.twitter.com/V7Kg0gHEGK
— Michael Coteau (@coteau) March 2, 2023
The new structure eliminates Victoria Park Avenue as a political boundary.
“City Council has made it very clear that it opposes this change that would eliminate a Toronto federal riding. It was wrong when the commission proposed removing a riding in Scarborough and it is wrong now to propose removing a riding in North York,” said Toronto’s Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie.
Only Members of Parliament are now permitted to object to boundaries, through written submissions to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. MPs may be given up to 5 minutes to explain their objection in person before the committee. The Standing Committee will then submit its report to the Speaker of the House of Commons who will transmit the committee’s report to the Commission. This cumbersome process is ostensibly designed to take the politics out of redistribution.
The letter jointly signed by 24 of 25 City Councillors has been sent to MP Michael Coteau in support of his advocacy against the proposed changes.
If members of public want to voice their concern, the group suggest writing an opposition letter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, Miriam Burke at PROC@parl.gc.ca as soon as possible.
According to a press release, the Standing Committee is expected to address this matter on an undetermined date within the next few weeks.