LETTER: Careful what you wish for

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Editor’s note: This letter is addressed to the mayor and council.

As a long time proponent of the democratic process and in particular proportional representation, I would like to consider Coun. Jubenville’s idea of reviewing electoral boundaries.

Now of course, I don’t mean to imply any municipal councillor may attempt to gerrymander wards in order to increase the influence of a particular constituency or to inflame a “rural vs. urban” sentiment.

We live in a democracy of one person, one vote regardless of where we live or the size of property to which we may hold title. In our representative democracy, each councillor votes on issues that affect all of Chatham-Kent.

Councillors that represent a greater number of constituents have less representative voting power than those that represent a smaller number or a minority.

I know that you all understand this, but I believe it’s worth reiterating.

This following provides a measure of the number of people represented by their councillor.

It is sorted from the ward with the highest elector representation to the ward with the lowest elector representation.

Ward 5 – 3,700

Ward 1 – 4110

Ward 2 – 4127

Ward 3 – 4297

Ward 4 – 4695

Ward 6 – 5,072

So, if we were to consider the present ward boundaries, then Ward 6 (Chatham) could maybe be expanded into the surrounding rural wards. I’m not sure that electors from surrounding wards would be keen on that.

In my opinion, these are the kinds of decisions usually best settled in a referendum.

Proportional representation can always be improved but we must look at it objectively.

Ken Bell

Ward 2

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