The name of the proposed new federal riding (Algoma-Manitoulin-Killarney) has a nice ring to it. That, and the fact that the acronym AMK that we’ve grown used to while Kapuskasing has been part of this electoral district will still stand up for headline writing.
MP Carol Hughes expressed some concern in an interview on the issue in last week’s paper, particularly about adding a more industrial-leaning Lively into the riding while losing the more rural communities of Kapuskasing, Hearst, Moonbeam in the far North as well as the Lake Superior towns of Wawa and White River and the mining community of Manitouwadge.
With the reinstatement of Killarney into the revised AMK, this federal riding must surely be far easier for a busy MP to service from her Elliot Lake constituency office that once again will be fairly central within the revised riding.
The Northern communities of Hornpayne and Chapleau remain within AMK as does the sawmill town of Dubreuillville.
In the old days when the federal riding was called Algoma East, it also included Killarney, at that time the name of the village of the old municipality of Rutherford and George Island.
This municipality became part of the popular Ontario amalgamation process in the 1990s, formally adopting the name “Municipality of Killarney” and its new territory is quite vast, if sparsely populated, and extends as far south as the Key River. The new riding, then, will include communities as far south as Key River and as far North as Chapleau.
The advantages of this new AMK must surely be ease of access to the MP who will not have to spend a day’s time travelling from her constituency office in Elliot Lake to, for example, Hearst.
Greater Sudbury’s westernmost community, Lively, will become part of the proposed AMK as will the neighbouring Whitefish Lake First Nation near Naughton.
Lively voters may find it strange to be included with a riding that includes Manitoulin and Killarney, but the Nickel Belt riding of which they have been a part for many years, prior to one of the recent riding redistributions, also included Chapleau which has lately been (and will remain) in AMK.
The most significant aspect to this round of riding redistributing is that Northern Ontario retains the 10 ridings that we have had for nearly 15 years, after having lost two additional constituencies in previous redistributions.
In fact, many people were expecting to have to fight Elections Canada to maintain the 10 and perhaps there were some (maybe a lot) of backroom negotiations before the proposed new boundaries were announced just over a week ago.
Nothing is absolutely perfect, but the mix of communities within the proposed new riding is not bad at all and sidling up to Sudbury via Lively may have some political advantages for the rest of the riding.
And, for the record, welcome back Killarney!