Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good morning, colleagues.
I'm going to present a couple of different things.
There are a couple of areas where I differ slightly from my colleagues. I'm going to present some of the views of my constituents, which are not supported, and then I'll come back to a proposal that is supported. That being said, my constituents are always right and my colleagues can sometimes be wrong.
That's a joke. My jokes don't always go over, but I try.
To begin with, I do take issue with the new boundaries proposed for the Peterborough electoral district, which have become a serious concern for many of my constituents.
During the public consultation phase, there was no visit to Peterborough, but there was a visit to Northumberland. While I suggested to my municipal councils, local leaders, and others that they may wish to express comment during that period, they did not, with the exception of the municipality of Cavan Monaghan, which did comment, as they were being looped into a riding with Northumberland, which they didn't want to be a part of.
The concern is that their lack of participation has been seen as being indifferent to the process, but I can assure you that they are not. The suggestion that the municipalities of Otonabee-South Monaghan and Asphodel-Norwood be moved into the riding of Northumberland has not been well received at all. I have motions that have been passed at both councils for the committee, as well as about 40 pages of petitions that have been completed by area residents. These are small rural townships, so you can imagine that if 40 pages of petitions can be filled by people who are voicing their concerns, this proposal has gone over in those areas like a lead balloon.
How do we fix it? I think that becomes a challenge.
The suggestion right now that the boundaries commission has come up with makes very little sense. If we look at the east side of Peterborough, we see Otonabee-South Monaghan township. It is actually historically part of what is called East City, in the city of Peterborough. It's been stripped away and it's where an awful lot of development in the city is now occurring. There's a lot of collaboration between Otonabee-South Monaghan and the city.
Highway 7, the Trans-Canada Highway which connects Peterborough and Ottawa, is the main arterial road that goes between Peterborough and all of the eastern townships in Peterborough County. You would actually drive out of Peterborough for about half an hour before you would drive back into the riding, in Havelock. It effectively makes Havelock-Belmont-Methuen an island within the riding. I know it appears as one land mass. The reality is that you drive out of the riding for a long time to drive back into it. There really aren't any arterial roads in this area at all. It makes it quite dysfunctional.
There is quite a bit of trade that goes on between the economies of Havelock and areas to the south, which would be Campbellford. For example, residents in Havelock will often use the Campbellford hospital, and so forth, and that is in the riding of Northumberland. For whatever reason, the boundaries commission elected to leave Havelock in this riding while they took the other two municipalities of Otonabee-South Monaghan and Asphodel-Norwood and moved them into Northumberland.
In many ways, and this may sound strange, Rice Lake to the south has often acted almost like Lake Ontario in this area, whereby there are almost two distinct economic regions, north and south, on either side of the lake.
One of the proposals that has been passed, which there are recommendations for and is supported by Peterborough County Council, could actually see the townships of Otonabee-South Monaghan and Asphodel-Norwood move back in and have Cavan Monaghan stripped out and moved south to Northumberland. I specifically objected to this in the process. It would also have the two northern townships, which Mr. Devolin outlined earlier, of Trent Lakes and North Kawartha moved back into the riding of Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock. That is an option. It's not supported by Cavan, and it's not supported by my colleagues. It was supported by the preponderance of members at county council, but not all of them.
The one that has unanimous agreement among my colleagues would see Havelock-Belmont-Methuen join with the other two eastern townships, Asphodel-Norwood and Otonabee-South Monaghan. You would effectively have all three eastern townships in Peterborough County put back together, which makes sense.
You would move Cavan-Monaghan, which is on the southwest portion of Peterborough; it's where Peterborough airport, Fleming College, and one of my major high schools are. It would make sense for Cavan-Monaghan to be a part of the city of Peterborough.
This would add Cavan-Monaghan in, take North Kawartha out, take Trent Lakes out, and would add Havelock-Belmont-Methuen to the riding of Northumberland.
I would also strongly recommend a name change to both ridings. One could be, for example, “Peterborough—Kawartha”, recognizing both the city of Peterborough and the Kawartha Lakes. The other riding could be called “Northumberland—Peterborough South”. The word “Peterborough” should be in both riding names, as both would contain parts of Peterborough County.