Alberta’s Electoral Boundary Commission is recommending the riding of Fort McMurray-Conklin be redrawn to include Lac La Biche.
In its final report, which was presented to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, they noted the decision was made based on the entire population of the constituency, as the act requires.
Based on 2016 federal census numbers, expanding Fort McMurray-Conklin to include Lac La Biche would bring the riding population to 44,166, which is still roughly 6 per cent below the provincial average population of 46,803.
The existing Fort McMurray-Conklin constituency has a population of 26,309, about 48 per cent below the provincial average, according to the Commission. These numbers don’t include the shadow population.
In addition, the Commission also recommends moving Buffalo Lake and Kikino Métis settlements into the proposed Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche riding so that they remain in the same constituency as the reserves and settlements around the two communities. This would also move the White Fish First Nation reserve into this riding.
As for riding of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, the Commission is recommending the riding include the entire northeast corner of the province.
The final report also suggests Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche and Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo’s orientation be moved to run east-west rather than the existing north-south, so the MLA for each riding would have to cover a smaller geographic area.
The division line of the two constituencies would then continue to follow Thickwood Boulevard rather than the course of the Athabasca River.