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New Brunswick Southwest MP John Williamson speaks before a House of Commons committee on Jan. 31, 2023. Image: House of Commons video capture

Don’t Change The Name Of N.B. Southwest: MP

By Brad Perry Feb 1, 2023 | 6:27 AM

The Conservative MP for New Brunswick Southwest is objecting to a proposed name change for his riding.

John Williamson appeared Tuesday before a House of Commons committee in a last-ditch effort to stop the change from going ahead.

“The current name, New Brunswick Southwest, should continue to be used as it has almost continuously since 1997,” Williamson said in his remarks before the committee.

His comments follow proposed changes put forward last year by a federal commission examining New Brunswick’s electoral map.

The commission said the riding should be expanded to include west Saint John and the Parish of Burton while reassigning Harvey and several other parishes to the riding of Tobique-Mactaquac.

In addition to the new riding boundaries, the commission proposed changing the name of New Brunswick Southwest to Saint John-St. Croix.

Williamson previously presented his arguments to commission members, but they decided to go ahead with the name change, arguing it “better reflects” the new electoral district’s culture, history and geography.

“Most of the communities in the riding will not identify with the Saint John-St. Croix label, and within the riding there are multiple communities that do not lie near the St. Croix River, nor are they part of Saint John,” Williamson said Tuesday.

The MP said they include Belleisle, Apohaqui, Studholm, St. George, Maces Bay, Blacks Harbour, Tracy, Fredericton Junction and Gagetown.

“Moreover, some of our province’s oldest communities to the south, namely Campobello, Deer Island, Grand Manan and White Head Island, are also completely overlooked by this new name,” he said.

The name New Brunswick Southwest, argued Williamson, reflects the region as a whole, including the new communities that are being added.

The MP said he has talked to a number of local mayors and councillors, and that there is broad agreement that the name New Brunswick Southwest has worked well.

Williamson also quoted from the commission’s report, which said it sought to retain riding names whenever appropriate.

“I believe it is more than appropriate to maintain the name New Brunswick Southwest because of its history, its accuracy, and I also think it’s a name that people understand that they live within and represents them,” he said.

If the parliamentary committee agrees with Williamson’s argument, it will send a report back to the commission, which will make a final report for the House of Commons.


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