The federal government’s proposed renaming of the New Brunswick Southwest riding prompted that region’s member of parliament to voice his opposition in the House of Commons.
Ottawa’s federal electoral boundaries commission proposed in 2022 that New Brunswick Southwest be renamed to Saint John-St. Croix, a motion denounced by Conservative MP John Williamson.
Williamson said the proposed new name accurately reflects the whole of the riding and should continue to be used.
“The current name … should continue to be used as it has almost continuously since 1997,” he told the committee on Monday.
The commission also recommended the riding expand to include west Saint John and the Parish of Burton, with several areas being reassigned to Tobique-Mactaquac.
Williamson said he believes most communities will not identify with Saint John-St. Croix.
“Within the riding, there are multiple communities that do not lie near the St. Croix River, nor are they part of Saint John,” he said, referring to areas like Belleisle, St. George and Gagetown.
“Some of our province’s oldest communities to the south – namely Campobello, Deer Island, Grand Manan and White Head Island – are also completely overlooked by this new name.”
If the federal government’s committee agrees with Williamson, it will send a report back to the commission, which will make a final report for the House of Commons.
In speaking with mayors and councilors, Williamson said there’s “broad agreement” that New Brunswick Southwest works well to include the many communities that make up the rural riding.
“It’s a name that people understand that they live within and represents them,” he said.