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Saint John Will Have Two MPs After April 2024, And MP John Williamson Is Looking Forward To The Change
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for New Brunswick has redrawn the federal ridings, and the redrawing will have a major impact to the riding currently known as New Brunswick Southwest held by Conservative MP John Williamson, as well as the riding currently known as Saint John-Rothesay, held by Liberal MP Wayne Long.
Reporter Vicky Hogarth talks to Williamson to get an overview of the changes and likely effects to be felt by citizens. While the new federal riding boundaries will not go into effect until after April 2024, discussion around how Southwest New Brunswick will be affected by the changes are in full swing. MP Williamson of New Brunswick Southwest is embracing the proposed changes while MP Long is vowing to fight the introduction of new boundaries.
Currently, the City of Saint John is represented in Parliament by MP Long in the single riding of Saint John-Rothesay. When a federal election is called after April 2024, however, Saint John will be split into two ridings with the Saint John River providing the dividing line. The eastern portion of the city will be joined with Rothesay and Quispamsis to form the new riding of Saint John-Kennebecasis. The western part of the city will join the current riding of New Brunswick Southwest to form the new riding of Saint John-St. Croix.
MP Williamson is looking forward to the opportunity of potentially representing a significantly larger population of people if he is re-elected, as well as part of New Brunswick's largest city that has a growing import-export train line that runs through the rest of the riding all the way to McAdam.
"Changes can be proposed at this point, but I am not proposing any to the new riding of Saint John-St. Croix, but I am petitioning to keep the name New Brunswick Southwest," said Williamson. "I think it is more accurate because this riding extends as far as Sussex and to areas like Gagetown. Right now, I have a largely rural riding of about 10,000 square kilometre representing about 68,000 people. With the addition of Burton and Saint John West and even though I will be losing York County, the representation will jump to about 80,000."
Williamson believes splitting Saint John into two federal ridings will give voters in Saint John even more presence on a federal level.
"Having two MPs will strengthen the representation of Saint John," said Williamson. "MPs shouldn't represent one city, although that seems to be a common view in New Brunswick. The Commission decided to split Saint John because of the population. Furthermore, the Village of McAdam, which is in this riding, is working closely right now with the Port of Saint John in West Saint John, which is growing at a rapid pace, and which has many trains running through McAdam. The Commission heard enough good reason to keep McAdam in this riding and to add West Saint John to it."
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