CPAC Letter Re: Scarborough electoral districts redistribution
October 28, 2022
Attention Ontario Commission for the Federal Electoral Districts Redistribution Dear Commission Members:
Re: Scarborough electoral districts redistribution
We are writing to express our great concern about the proposed changes to the federal electoral districts in Toronto, particularly the loss of an electoral riding in Scarborough.
CPAC is an association of over 30,000 members who are all internationally educated professionals, many of whom live in Scarborough and concentrated in Scarborough-North and Scarborough-Agincourt, which is one of the reasons we chose Scarborough-Agincourt as the location of our head office.
For many decades, we have witnessed Scarborough being neglected and treated as less important by different levels of government. Investments in Scarborough hospitals, transit and other public infrastructures have been gravely less than in other areas of the GTA. For an area that have been mistreated for so long, Scarborough now needs more, not less, representation in all levels of governments. Given our bad experience in the past many decades, we cannot help but regard the proposed reduction of Scarborough representation as another case of unfair treatment of the residents of Scarborough.
The proposed changes would break up existing communities and redistribute a sizeable portion of Scarborough-Agincourt into North York, deleting any reference to the history of the Agincourt community, which has a rich cultural and historical identity for close to two centuries. It would also break up police services from 42 Division, health care services and social and seniors’ community services, whose clientele are vastly different from that of North York. The change may also cause property tax increase for Scarborough residents.
Like Scarborough North, Scarborough-Agincourt has large numbers of seniors, newcomers, families, and immigrants. Scarborough-Agincourt’s immigrant population is 19% over the Toronto average. This area needs the locally developed, interconnected network of services that meet Scarborough’s unique needs.
By now, not an inch of land is left undeveloped in the old city of Toronto. Scarborough is becoming the next centre of high-rise development, not only because of its available lands, but also because of the many SmartTrack stations and expected subway stations in Scarborough- Agincourt, around which many condo towers are expected to be built in the next five to ten years. This is so not only because of the density requirements around Major Transit Stations (MTS), but also the enactment of new provincial legislation that allows the conversion of industrial/commercial lands into residential and mixed use within 500 metres of a MTS. Our head office is located within one of these MTS areas and a number of conversion and development applications are being processed by the City of Toronto right now.
In fact, numerous developments are already happening right now along Sheppard Ave. E., including the large-scale Agincourt Mall 5,000-unit condominium/retail development, and the current Village Green (Kennedy and 401) condominium expansion.
These developments will substantially increase the population of Scarborough-Agincourt and must be taken into account when considering riding boundaries, to avoid redrawing the boundaries again in 10 years.
Furthermore, there is evidence to show that the Census taken in 2021 (a pandemic year) grossly underestimated the true number of residents living Scarborough-Agincourt and Scarborough North, by hundreds in certain buildings.
It appears that decisions are being made for Scarborough without a good understanding of the Scarborough communities. We deserve the rightful representation of six representatives. To reduce one from six is a major reduction of Scarborough’s representation and voice for residents, businesses, seniors, youth, diverse communities, health care, transit, and other important, Scarborough specific issues. This is not fair.
We urge you to take our concerns seriously and keep Scarborough-Agincourt and Scarborough North as distinct ridings. We deserve respect and want fair representation for Scarborough, particularly the diverse districts of Scarborough-Agincourt and Scarborough- North.
Ti Wang, President