The MLA for Morden-Winkler expects his constituency will look a bit different by the time the 2020 provincial election rolls around.
Manitoba's 57 electoral boundaries are about to go under review, a process that unfolds every 10 years to reflect changes in the province's population.
Cameron Friesen fully expects changes are coming to the Morden-Winkler borders thanks to the profound growth in Morden, Winkler and the R.M. of Stanley over the last decade.
"The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program has been very successful in drawing new families to the Southern Manitoba region," said Friesen. "We've got a very successful settlement services office that helps to locate and assist these individuals as they come to live here...and we know that's part of the picture." Friesen said our region needs strong population growth in order to meet the need for jobs here.
With a review of Manitoba's electoral boundaries on the horizon, Friesen is reflecting on his time representing the area. The constituency is relatively new, having been formed during the last review 10 years ago, and Friesen is the first to serve as MLA. He says the smaller geographical size of Morden-Winkler has allowed him to better maintain relationships compared to some of his colleagues who have up to a dozen municipal councils within their constituencies.
"I think the benefit of the Morden-Winkler constituency, is that we can go deeper. I have a relationship with the City of Winkler, the City of Morden, and the R.M. of Stanley. So understanding their needs, whether those needs be in terms of affordable housing, infrastructure, if it's on zoning, education, or health care concerns."
Meanwhile, Friesen along with Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon hopes the Electoral Boundaries Commission takes another look at part of the border between their constituencies. Graydon plans to make a submission to have a 'geographical jog' straightened out that is splitting the small community of Osterwick between Emerson and Morden-Winkler.
Friesen says he and Graydon, along with constituents, hope the commission is sensible about how boundaries are created. "We understand that we need to arrive at a solution that puts the approximately same number of voters in each constituency," said Friesen. "But it becomes problematic when we draw an arbitrary line right down the middle of a community. It creates confusion and it doesn't help people to understand where they vote, or who their MLA is."
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