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Dual Electoral Districts

The proposed model of four large districts based on federal riding boundaries, and six small single member ridings within each of those districts has a number of implications.

With regard to the design of the large and small districts:
  • The four large districts would be kept relatively even-sized as a result of federal electoral boundary change and ongoing modifications to these boundaries by Elections Canada.

  • The twenty-four individual districts can be designed to reflect the factors that have always been important to Islanders, including a balance of rural and urban representation and protection of linguistic minorities.

  • The twenty-four individual ridings would have an average of about 4,200 voters, still small enough to maintain the close relationship between elected member and voter that Islandersvalue so highly.

  • The four federal ridings align well to historical community patterns, create a clear separation between the capital city and the rest of the province, and exhibit internally consistent socioeconomic characteristics.

With regard to the move to a renewed version of a dual-member system:
  • Islanders are familiar and comfortable with the concept of a dual-member system, as it served as our democratic model until two decades ago.

  • The fact that every voter will be represented by two members of the legislature – one local and one regional – provides more opportunities for choice, interaction, and representativeness.

  • Some types of systems, such as mixed member proportional representation, create fears of “two-tier” members of the legislature, in which the party list members from the large districts are seen as having less credibility than members elected directly in local districts. This concern does not arise with the present proposal, as both types of candidates would be directly elected by a majority of the voters in the district.

  • Historically, PEI's system of dual-member ridings was used by parties to reflect the religious diversity of the electorate. Our society today has more dimensions of diversity that should be reflected in our legislature, and this proposed system of individual and regional ridings offers opportunities to promote that.

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