The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Quebec has published a proposal to revise the province’s electoral map. It includes significant changes to the current Salaberry-Suroît and Chateauguay-Lacolle ridings.
According to the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, electoral boundaries and names are revised every ten years. Of the 78 electoral districts in the province, all but 17 could see changes to their boundaries, while the names of a dozen may also be altered.
The proposal issued by the commission on July 29 recommends several changes to the Salaberry-Suroît district, due to the accelerated growth of the neighbouring Vaudreuil-Soulanges region which has become the fourth most populated district in Quebec. To balance this increase in population, the commission proposes that the municipalities of Les Cèdres and Pointe-des-Cascades join Salaberry-Suroît. This will over-inflate the population of Salaberry-Suroît, so the commission also proposes that the municipalities of Franklin, Havelock, Saint-Chrysostome, Hemmingford Township and Village, Très-Saint-Sacrement, and Howick be transferred to the district of Chateauguay-Lacolle.
With the addition of Les Cèdres and Pointe-des-Cascades, the Salaberry-Suroît riding would include all the municipalities of the former MRC de Soulanges (which was dissolved in 1980). This fact led the commission to propose the addition of Soulanges to the district’s name, making it Salaberry-Suroît-Soulanges. The Town of Huntingdon, as well as the municipalities of Elgin, Hinchinbrooke, Ormstown, Saint-Anicet, Sainte-Barbe, Dundee, Godmanchester, and Akwesasne would remain part of this district.
The commission has also proposed changing the name of the Chateauguay-Lacolle district to correct an error that was made when the name Lacolle was attributed to this riding, when in fact the municipality of Lacolle is part of the neighbouring district of Saint-Jean. The suggested name of Chateauguay-Les Jardins-de-Napierville better reflects the district’s territory.
In an article published by the Journal Saint-François, Salaberry-Suroît MP Claude DeBellefeuille notes that the proposed redistribution of the population would result in her riding becoming the second most populous in Quebec, after the riding of Vaudreuil. The article cites DeBellefeuille as saying she consulted area prefects over the proposed changes, which seemed to sit well with those in Vaudreuil-Soulanges; but the possibility of splitting the Haut-Saint-Laurent between two ridings was less well-received.
DeBellefeuille says she intends to submit a brief to ask that a new name be selected for the riding, instead of the proposed Salaberry-Suroît-Soulanges. She notes that she reached out to the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to suggest they consider submitting a name that would reflect their presence in the region.
The commission’s next step in the redistribution process includes a series of public hearings to allow those interested in submitting feedback to do so, either in person or during one of two virtual hearings on September 14 and October 13. The closest in-person hearing will take place on October 3 at the Palais de justice in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.