Keep communities of interest together

Keep communities of interest together
Posted on August 29, 2012 | James O'Grady | Written on July 13, 2012
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Letter type:
Unpublished

Publisher

Publisher:
Ottawa Citizen, Letters to the editor

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

This letter-to-the-editor was written in July 2010 in response to an article in the Ottawa Citizen by Glen MacGreggor about the factors that go into determining electoral district boundaries. Because my extended community has been divided into two different ridings and wards at all three levels of government, along the artificial boundary of a railroad track, I wrote this letter in order to suggest the Federal government also consider keeping 'communities-of-common-interest' together for the reasons I state below. Unfortunately, this letter was not published in the Ottawa Citizen although I did post it to my campaign website during the 2010 City of Ottawa Municipal Election.

I agree with Glen McGregor's assessment, in his article 'Redrawing Ottawa's political map', that all Ottawa deserves fair and equal federal representation and that new residential developments in and around Barrhaven and Manotick are changing the shape, character and size of our City.

He writes that “any adjustment to the contours of federal electoral districts is a tricky business that juggles cartography, demographics, economics and partisan politics”.

I would like to suggest that maintaining ‘communities of common interest’ should be another factor by which the boundaries of electoral districts and ward boundaries are determined. Only then can voters be sure that their interests will be properly represented and that their vote is both equal and – by voting with their neighbours - effective.

This is clearly, not the case with my extended community in Nepean which revolves around Sir Robert Borden High School (SRB) on Greenbank Rd.  By using the arbitrary and artificial boundary of the railroad tracks that run beside SRB, railroad tracks that are crossed on foot daily by adults and children alike and have been for over 40 years, the riding and ward boundaries at all three levels of government literally cut our community in half.

The neighborhoods of Arlington Woods, Trend Village, Craig Henry, Manordale and Woodvale on one side and Leslie Park, Briar Green, Graham Park, Qualicom, Valleystream on the other, have always been closely tied because the children from each neighborhood are classmates and friends. I still have a number of good friends from Arlington Woods, Trend-Village and Leslie Park that I went to SRB with. We also played hockey together in the Nepean Minor Hockey Association during our high school years.

Now that the Federal government is reviewing the process, it is the perfect opportunity to right the wrong that was committed ten years ago at the time of amalgamation.

In this municipal election campaign I will be advocating for a realignment of Nepean’s ward boundaries to better reflect local ‘communities of interest’ because keeping communities of common interest together is essential to maintaining neighborhood cohesion and strength and ensuring equal and effective representation at City Hall, Queen’s Park and the House of Commons.

Sincerely,

James O’Grady
Candidate for Ottawa City Council
Ward 9: Knoxdale-Merivale

www.jamesogrady.ca

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About The Author

I am an entrepreneur, communications professional, school teacher and community activist living in Ottawa, Ontario. I am also a hockey goaltender, political hack and most importantly, an advocate for grassroots,... More

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