FREDERICTON (GNB) – New boundaries for the province’s 49 electoral districts were made public today by the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission.

The commission’s recommendations are contained in its final report tabled with the clerk of the legislative assembly.

"We want to thank the residents of New Brunswick who took the time during our second round of public hearings, to provide feedback for our consideration,” said commission co-chair Camille Thériault.

Co-chair Roger Clinch said the virtual hearings offered valuable information for the commission to consider within the context of the guiding principles of its mandate, as prescribed in the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Act.

“We did listen, and we did make changes where possible, however, not all requests could be accommodated due to a variety of factors, which are detailed in our report,” Clinch said.

The commission’s final report also includes several recommendations for the legislative assembly to consider. One recommendation proposes an amendment to the Electoral Boundaries & Representation Act prior to the next provincial general election. The amendment would allow for a deviation greater than 25 per cent in the application of extraordinary circumstances, which was an issue raised during deliberations over the redistribution of the new riding of Tantramar.

Another recommendation calls for a comprehensive review of the act, which would involve looking at process timelines, the structure of public consultations, as well as how the guiding principles of the commission’s mandate are prioritized.

“The commissioners feel the tight timelines set out in the current legislation for releasing a preliminary report, conducting public hearings and tabling a final report, does not provide citizens with adequate time to educate themselves and prepare their feedback on the changes that are being proposed to the electoral districts in which they live,” said Thériault.

As outlined in the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Act, the commission will receive written objections over the next 14 days. Objections must be signed by two members of the legislative assembly, identify the section of the report being objected to, the reason for the objection, and the proposed manner in which the recommendation of the commission be amended. The commission will accept electronic copies of objections at [email protected] but must also receive the original hard copy of the objection signed by the two MLAs before Monday March 27, in order to be considered valid.

The commission expects its work to be completed by late April. The final report may be viewed on the commission's website.