Babikian hails ‘major victory’ for Scarborough-Agincourt residents

Scarborough-Agincourt Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Aris Babikian hailed the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission’s decision not to change the federal riding’s boundaries.

“I am elated that the unity and the advocacy of Scarborough and Scarborough-Agincourt residents paid off. I was honored to defend the interest of our residents and oppose the initial proposal by making my opposition clear during the Commission’s public hearings,” Babikian said in a letter addressed to riding residents on Sunday. “Our residents once again sent a clear message that we will not tolerate the injustices our region has been subjected to in the past. I am proud and privileged to represent such a great and vibrant community,” Babikian added.

Last year, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission proposed a drastic change to the boundaries for Scarborough-Agincourt, which included plans to annex a large portion of the western neighborhoods and amalgamate them into North York. There were also plans to reduce Scarborough’s electorate districts from six to five.

The Commission released a short statement about its decision on Friday, outlining that it was tasked with proposing new boundaries that, “as best as possible, maintain population equality while taking into consideration social and geographic factors, including respect for communities of interest or identity and historical patterns of previous boundaries.”

“The time and effort committed by the public to this important democratic process was remarkable and very much valued by the Commission. We are satisfied that we have balanced our statutory obligations with the views of the people of Ontario, striving for the goal of effective representation”, said the Honourable Justice Lynne C. Leitch, Chair of the three-member Commission.

“The initial proposal generated anger and displeasure among our residents. Many of us felt Scarborough has once again been discriminated against and disenfranchised,” Babikian said in the letter. During a public hearing organized by the Commission last October, many Scarborough-Agincourt residents voiced their concerns to the Commission. “As a result of our collective efforts, in its final report on Feb. 10, 2023, the Commission reversed its redistribution plan for Scarborough-Agincourt and Scarborough. The Commission admitted that its first proposal was ‘another act against a part of Toronto which feels it has suffered a long series of setbacks and disappointments from governments of all levels,’” Babikian explained.

Jean Yip, the Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for Scarborough-Agincourt, was also a strong voice against the proposed changes to the riding and helped organized residents to voice their concerns to the Commission. “Toronto is stronger when more of our voices are represented,” she said about the decision in a statement via her official Facebook page.

Scarborough will keep its six seats, and the original Scarborough-Agincourt riding will be kept intact with a minor addition from Don Valley North.