Rural Development Institute reports on dynamics of rural and northern Manitoba to Manitoba Electoral Divisions and Boundaries Commission

April 19, 2018

Logo features the letter's rdi with a sun forming the dot above the "i" and the words RURAL DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE written belowA report by the Rural Development Institute (RDI) at Brandon University (BU) is informing the work of the Manitoba Electoral Divisions Boundaries Commission.

As part of the Commission’s broad public consultation process, it contacted RDI to report on the state of rural and northern Manitoba.  The report draws on RDI’s body of research to highlight significant issues, challenges and opportunities affecting population changes or trends in rural communities and regions of Manitoba.

“Setting the right electoral boundaries helps ensure Manitoba’s population is accurately reflected in electoral divisions, “said Richard Chartier, Chief Justice of Manitoba and Chair of the Commission.  “Two of the factors we consider in achieving our goal of effective representation are special geographic conditions and projected population changes.  The work of the Institute helps to inform our review of the boundaries and is a very helpful piece of information for the Commission.”

There is more to rural and northern Manitoba than population numbers. Statistics do not fully capture the sense of enterprise, fellowship, kinship, and the familial link through ownership and attachment to the land, that can energize and motivate residents to pull together when faced with hardship or disaster, or when undertaking a community project or establishing a business enterprise.

“The report contains four themes to provoke reflection and inform new insights pertinent to rural and northern Manitoba,” said Bill Ashton, RDI director. “It looks at functional economic rural regions as self-contained labour areas, agricultural innovation, the mining and forestry industries of Manitoba’s north, and Indigenous communities.”

Ashton cautions that the report contains a only a sampling of topics that could be added.

“This report, in many ways bring together over 28 years of research and experiences at the Rural Development Institute,” said Demetres Tryphonopoulos, Dean of Arts at BU. “Such reports help to underscore how rural challenges and opportunities are interconnected and a more integrated approach is needed. This same message can be heard across many departments at Brandon University.”

The full report can be accessed at the Rural Development Institute website at BrandonU.ca/RDI/Publication/Dynamics-of-Rural-Northern-Manitoba.

The membership of the Manitoba Electoral Divisions Boundaries Commission includes BU Interim President and Vice-Chancellor Steve Robinson.

For more information, please contact:

William (Bill) Ashton, MCIP, PhD.

Director, Rural Development Institute

204-571-8513

AshtonW@BrandonU.ca