A statement by Scarborough Centre MP Salma Zahid
While I welcome the decision of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario to maintain six electoral districts in Scarborough, I am concerned and disappointed regarding their decision to cut the heart out of the riding of Scarborough Centre with no meaningful public consultation.
When the first draft of the commission report was released, communities impacted by the proposed boundary changes had the opportunity to present their concerns. The expectation was minor changes being made to address the concerns raised by community groups.
Instead, the commission has made major, wholesale changes not contemplated during the public hearings. And, because of the flawed boundaries commission process, the communities now impacted by these major changes in this so-called final report have no opportunity to make their case because the commission does not allow further public consultations.
This is anti-democratic and insulting to my constituents, as well as residents affected by major proposed changes in the ridings of Scarborough-Guildwood and Scarborough-Rouge Park. They have been left out in the cold by this flawed process.
In Scarborough Centre, one of the largest Muslim communities in Toronto is centred around Midland and Lawrence. This community is literally being sliced in half and shunted into two ridings, causing significant challenges for representation and accessing support from their elected representatives. This is a community of interest that should stay together. Some 45 per cent of the existing electoral district is being shifted into a new one.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario needs to reconsider these unexpected changes which were not based on public input and consultation and provide the opportunity for the voices of the communities they have sprung these surprise changes on to be heard. Also, the redistribution process must be reformed so that such major, wholesale changes cannot be made after the public consultation period.
As the Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre, I will be using all tools at my disposal to ensure that the voices of the communities impacted are heard.
For more information, media only:
Jeff Jedras, Office of MP Salma Zahid