Residents of Ward 4 in La Nation who were behind a recent successful appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) on a previous decision by council to maintain four municipal wards are pleased with the tribunal’s order to the municipality to add two additional wards, beginning with the 2022 municipal election.
The appellants were Limoges residents David Mushing and Philippe Warren, who represented other residents of the community.
On September 27, OLT Member Nicholas Robinson ruled that council’s four-ward decision did not meet the test for effective representation, or satisfy the five guiding principles of the ward boundary review process the municipality had undertaken in 2020. The tribunal found that the option selected by the council went beyond the ordinary limits of the extent to which one person’s vote ought to be diluted in value against that of another.
“This decision confirms what we have been saying all along. Citizens of Ward Four are entitled to the same vote as citizens of all other wards. Neglecting voter parity without a corollary justification is absolutely unreasonable and we are pleased the tribunal saw that,” Mushing said in a statement released by the group of citizens.
“Our supporters from across the Nation want Council to fairly represent all citizens in the Nation. With the six-ward system now being implemented, we can all be assured that our vote will not be diluted in the next municipal election,” Warren said.
Under the new six-ward arrangement, residents of the central part of La Nation around Casselman and Seguinbourg will now get to elect their own member of council. Limoges, where population growth is strong, will be divided into two wards.
The group who arranged the appeal worked on the effort for 18 months. It included present Ward 4 Councillor Francis Brière, who was the only councillor to vote against the four-ward option. Residents Chantal Normand, Carolyn Bourque, Stephanie Cantin, Eric Cantin, Mireille Sabourin, Steven Reardon, and Carl Letourneau were also part of the appeal effort. The group is also thankful for the support of others who acted as mentors, guides, and listeners.