A set of proposed federal electoral boundaries will see the creation of three new ridings, one of which includes Airdrie-Chestermere. That also means the community of Chestermere will be removed from the Bow River riding, shifting out a population of roughly 25,000.

That also means that the Bow River riding will be expanding.

Bow River MP Martin Shields explained that the Federal Electoral Boundary Commission and the process of redistribution isn't a new idea. 

“Every 10 years there is a boundary commission formed in every province in the county. They take the last Stats Canada numbers and take a look at trying to keep the populations as similar as they can in each riding in every province. That may vary from province to province.”

“So for Alberta there are three more ridings because the population in the last 10 years has increased in Alberta.”

Alberta's population count increased from 3,645,257 to 4,262,635 between the 2011 and the 2021 censuses.

Shields noted now that the proposed maps are out for the public to see, MPs and members of the public can review them and leave comments for the boundary commission.

“They’ll take all of the input they get back from MPs and the public and take a look at those to see what changes they will make to those boundaries that are out there now.”

He explained that the commission was formed about a year ago. This is not a quick process. he said.

“It will be another probably year before that next map is out.”

Approval by Parliament is expected in April 2024.

“If you have it approved by April 2024 they still need 6 more months before an election can be called before they can use the new map, so this is a long, long process,” he said.

In terms of the coverage area for MPs, he said the changes expand the riding in area very significantly.

He said it’s a challenge as it’s a lot bigger riding with more communities.

“It is a much larger riding in the sense that it goes almost to Red Deer. It goes on the other side of Highway 2 which would include Innisfail/Bowden, it also goes north across the province to Saskatchewan.”

A list of public hearings beginning in September 2021 can be found on the commission’s website.

Take a look at the proposed maps for Alberta here Proposal – Alberta - Federal Electoral Districts Redistribution (redecoupage-redistribution-2022.ca)