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  • Writer's pictureHunter Cresswell

Pontiac riding set for a shakeup

Is Wakefield in the Laurentides? According to elections Canada, it could be soon.

Every 10 years, federal ridings are studied and redrawn by Elections Canada when necessary, and this round would reshuffle the Gatineau Hills into several different ridings.

The municipalities of Low, Denholm, Kazabazua, Lac- Sainte-Marie, and over half of the municipality of La Pêche would be transferred to the Laurentides–Labelle electoral district.

The redistribution process, which is required by the Constitution Act of 1867 and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, began in September 2021 but isn’t done yet.

It’s likely that these proposed changes won’t be finalized until spring 2024, according to the Elections Canada website. Public hearings are also coming up in the fall for people to learn more and provide input to Elections Canada staff.

According to Elections Canada, the current Pontiac electoral district is 27,588 square kilometres and includes the MRC des Collines, MRC Pontiac, MRC Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, the Rapid Lake and Kitigan Zibi reserves, and the Buckingham and Masson-Angers areas of the city of Gatineau.

According to this proposal, the municipalities of Gracefield, Déléage, Aumond, Grand-Remous, Sainte-Thérèse-de-la-Gatineau, and part of Bouchette will also go from the Pontiac riding to the Laurentides–Labelle district.

According to the 2021 Statistics Canada census, 129,781 people live in the Pontiac electoral district.

The Pontiac is currently represented by Liberal MP Sophie Chatel, elected as the riding’s first woman member of parliament in 2021, who was preceded by Liberal William Amos.

The municipalities of Chelsea, Cantley, and the southwest portion of La Pêche will stay in the Pontiac riding, which will be renamed “Pontiac–Kitigan Zibi.”

The closest redistribution public hearing to the Gatineau Hills is scheduled at 9 a.m. on Sept. 29 at Hôtel Four Points at 35 Rue Laurier in Gatineau. There’s another virtual hearing at 9 a.m. on Oct. 13 that people can sign up for online to be sent a link to the meeting.

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