Jamie Schmale asked Ontario’s federal electoral boundaries commission Sept. 26 to keep the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock (HKLB) riding whole.

An independent commission has been tasked with re-drawing the electoral map of Ontario since a new member of Parliament is set to be added to keep up with population growth.

If changes proceed as proposed, a chunk of Highlands East would no longer be part of the HKLB riding. Instead, it would become part of the Hastings-Lennox and Addington-Tyendinaga riding.

Appearing virtually, Schmale encouraged the commission to, “maintain the status quo”.

“For a number of reasons, including the fact that right now a major municipal election issue in Haliburton County is the amalgamation of all the municipalities into one kind of upper-tier municipality…by carving off a very small population in the northwestern Highlands East would be problematic and confusing to a lot of people.”

Highlands East unanimously voted to send a letter to the commission outlining similar concerns.

Schmale also lobbied for other areas in the riding outside Haliburton County that would be split up, such as Cavan-Monaghan near Peterborough, which is home to Peterborough’s airport.

“If it does go into Peterborough, the city will get the priority rather than the residents in the rural areas,” he said.

More than 40 people spoke from ridings in central and eastern Ontario as well as the northern GTA. Multiple other hearings are scheduled before the commission brings forward a final proposal for new electoral boundaries in December.