Highlands East will remain with neighbouring County municipalities in a revised federal riding announced earlier this summer.

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario had originally proposed that parts of Highlands East be split from the other County townships and join a new Hastings-Lennox and Addington-Tyendinaga riding.

However, Highlands East and Member of Parliament, Jamie Schmale, lobbied to keep the Haliburton County family together.

The commission has decided to retain Highlands East but take away Brock Township. It has added parts of Trent Lakes and North Kawartha.

The new riding has been renamed HaliburtonKawartha Lakes and now comprises the City of Kawartha Lakes, Dysart et al, Highlands East, Trent Lakes (except the islands of Curve Lake) Algonquin Highlands, Cavan Monaghan, North Kawartha and Minden Hills. It’s a population of approximately 119,150.

Highlands East mayor Dave Burton said, “we did fight the fight with it. I couldn’t thank Jamie and the bunch that helped us with it (enough). I’m extremely pleased that we’re staying put.”

Schmale added, “we had good community engagement on that, to get Highlands East put back into Haliburton County in the riding.”

The next federal election is expected on or before Oct. 20, 2025.

Schmale made a public appearance at the committee hearings last September. He pitched the status quo, but didn’t quite get it. With Brock on the move, Schmale said, “it’s always sad when you lose part of the family. We’ve been together as a riding since the 1990s. They’re (Brock) now going back into the York-Durham riding, which they were part of from 1977… It’s obviously sad o see them go. On the flip side, we also gain North Kawartha and Trent Lakes, which had been in the riding…,” he said.

Riding loses Brock Township

“You hit on emotions. You’re losing part of the family but you’re also gaining part of the family that you had lost, so it’s going to be different.”

Under the Canadian constitution, federal electoral districts must be reviewed after each 10-year Census to reflect population shifts.

The population of Central East Ontario – which included the ridings of Peterborough-Kawartha, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, Northumberland-Peterborough South, HastingsLennox and Addington, and Bay of Quinte – grew by nine per cent, from 535,322 in 2011 to 583,287 in 2021.

The commission shifted boundaries to balance the population of the districts across Central East Ontario.

Schmale said it takes Elections Canada about seven months to implement the changes, so if there were a snap election called prior to April 2024, the former Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock would remain in place for such an election. After April, the new Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes riding comes into being.

Schmale said he is planning to seek re-election for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes.

“You take nothing for granted. You run scared or you run stupid. I’ll keep plugging away and not take anything for granted because in this day and age anything can happen.”

To see more, go to Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes – Final boundaries – Federal Electoral Districts Redistribution (redecoupage-redistribution-2022.ca).