background image

AMS Information Sheet: Electoral District Boundary Review

April 12, 2013

On Tuesday April 9th 2013, Kingston City Council voted to go against City Staff’s recommendation (revised option 4) and adopt ‘Option 1’ of the proposed new electoral boundaries for the 2014 municipal election. The adoption of Option 1 creates new electoral districts without taking into consideration post-secondary students within the makeup of the population. Here are some facts on the matter:

What does this mean for students?

  • Any post-secondary student is still allowed to vote in Kingston provided they register to be added on the voting list – the AMS has not claimed otherwise.
  • There are still a total number of 12 districts across the city.
  • However, while there are currently 4 City Council districts that represent Queen’s students, this number falls from 4 to 3 with council’s adoption of Option 1 (via the expansion of Williamsville district into what is currently Sydenham district).
  • Option 1 “uses the total 2011 Census population numbers as the key dataset and basis for re-dividing the electoral districts”. This leads to a total population count of 121,645. However, revised option 4 lists a total population of 142,247, most of which is concentrated in the downtown core, to give an accurate representation of the City’s population by including students (all data from the report authored by City staff).
  • As an example, the new Williamsville district does not take into account post-secondary students, which means that there will be one city councillor servicing over 17,000 constituents as opposed to the 10-12,000 in other districts across the city, but this is not reflected in official numbers as recognized by council.

Why did this happen?

  • Electoral districts have not been up for review since amalgamation of the new City of Kingston since 1998.
  • New districts were needed to better reflect the growth in population for the city.
  • City Council decided to not recognize post-secondary students within the makeup of the population for the new districts because some councillors claimed that “Students don’t vote and don’t need representation” (see http://www.thewhig.com/2013/04/08/councillor-cries-foul-on-boundary-realignment) or because some councillors suggested that students were “transients” or had no attachment to the city.
  • It is also important to note that the option (Revised Option 4) the AMS, SGPS and St. Lawrence College were all advocating for was the preferred option of City staff in their report to City Council.

Please direct all media inquiries to Taylor Mann, AMS Communications Officer, at comm@ams.queensu.ca or (613) 533-6000 x 75850.

Original AMS Press release: /news/ams-dismayed-by-city-council-vote-on-electoral-realignment.aspx

Globe and Mail submission by AMS President Doug Johnson: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/queens-university-students-to-city-we-are-not-a-nuisance/article11064231/

Globe & Mail news article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/kingston-students-furious-at-city-councils-redistricting-plan/article11101985/

Copy of the AMS’ letter to the  Mayor & City Council before Tues. meeting: http://t.co/T0yZQTVC5f

Whig Standard article: http://www.thewhig.com/2013/04/10/realignment-discriminatory-councillor

PDF of City Council Proposal: http://bit.ly/14bV0x6 (Final decision was in favour of Option 1)

BACKGROUNDER 

Alma Mater Society (AMS) - http://www.myAMS.org

The central undergraduate student government at Queen’s University, the AMS represents over 14,200 students and is the oldest student government in Canada. The constituency is represented through 12 faculty and residence societies. The AMS Council, which is made up of a three-person executive, six commissioners, and three directors, oversees all day-to-day activities within the Society, including 14 corporate services and various government committees that address virtually all matters of student life at Queen’s.