Many Prince George residents could be voting in a different riding during the next federal election.
The federal electoral boundaries commission is proposing moving more of Prince George in the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies riding as it grapples with the province’s uneven distribution of population and its varied and rugged physical geography.
The commission is proposing a new riding between Vernon and Kelowna, which does have a ripple effect into the North.
“We are proposing reconfiguration of Cariboo—Prince George to incorporate a larger part of the Cariboo area from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, and to relinquish an area of the City of Prince George to Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies,” reads the commission report on boundary changes.
Skeena—Bulkley Valley electoral district, which occupies the largest territory in the province at 327,275 square kilometres, will remain as it is. It remains under the population quota, but any alteration to its boundaries will add only to its size and exacerbate existing challenges to effective representation, says the commission.
“Our task is to create an additional riding and to adjust the boundaries of existing ridings to maintain effective federal representation for all British Columbians,” said the Honourable Justice Mary Saunders, Chair of the three-member commission. “We are proposing quite a few boundary changes. The changes are mainly in response to the significant but uneven growth of our population. That growth pattern creates a domino effect if we are to be fair and have relative equality between voters in different electoral districts. Our proposal necessarily gives attention to what is possible and practical given our varied and rugged geography and our distinct communities. We look forward to receiving public input on it.”
R. Kenneth Carty and Stewart Ladyman are the other members of the commission who are responsible for the readjustment of the province’s federal electoral boundaries.
The proposal reflects British Columbia’s increase in population from 4,400,057 in 2011 to 5,000,879, as captured in the 2021 Census, and takes into consideration communities of interest or identity, as well as historic and geographic factors. The proposal can be found at redistribution2022.ca. It will be published in the Canada Gazette on May 7, 2022.
Under the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, the Commission’s main aim in redrawing boundaries is to divide the province into 43 electoral districts that are as close to the electoral quota as reasonably possible, while taking into consideration the factors listed above. The electoral quota is calculated by dividing the population of the province by the number of electoral districts it has been allocated. In the case of British Columbia, the quota for each electoral district is 116,300 (5,000,879 residents divided by 43 electoral districts).
A public hearing on the proposed changes will be held Wednesday, June 22, at the Coast Inn of the North. It gets underway at 7 p.m.
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