The electoral riding changes proposed for B.C. donít appear to be rife with gerrymandering but they also donít seem to follow the rule of common sense.
With the province due to receive six new seats in the House of Commons the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for B.C. recently released its proposals to alter existing ridings and make accommodations for the new ones.
Locally the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding has seen Powell River removed but Pemberton, Mount Currie and Area C remain unchanged.
Unchanged despite the fact many in those communities feel disconnected from their current riding of Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon and have already been outspoken about it.
That riding, represented by Mark Strahl, is geographically vast and now proposed to include 100 Mile House. That creates a challenge for Strahl to have a presence there in order to know how his constituents feel on any particular issue.
Politicians should be actively present in the communities they represent as a matter of course or else democracy doesnít function the way it should.
But the proposal, which is in no way the final version of the map, is aimed at population balances rather than geography or politics. The latter is commendable however the lack of geographical consideration means residents of the Pemberton Valley will have to continue repeating themselves.
While it is good news the commission, through its consultation process this fall, is open to making changes and chair Justice John Hall said ďthereís a caseĒ for the change to happen eventually. If thatís the case it would have been a no-brainer for map-making bureaucrats to save everyone the time and effort of having to show up and give their feedback.
The Question hopes they listen and make these changes in the future but there is pause for concern that may not happen.
West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country MP John Weston was in Whistler this week and when asked about the changed remarked he expected his riding to be changed.
ďI know our riding is at the top of the list for changes because it is the largest by population and the whole point is to give B.C. more seats,Ē Weston said.
Adding the Spud Valley to his riding may result further border alterations to other areas. Like a snowball effect, that many changes may be unpalatable to an organization like the commission after it has already gone through consultations.
We certainly hope not.