News Release: BC Electoral Boundaries Commission 4/21/2022
The BC Electoral Boundaries Commission has released their schedule for in-person public meetings for Northern BC and will be hosting one in Fort Nelson on Tuesday, May 10th at 12:30pm in the Aspen Room at the Woodlands Inn & Suites.
The Commission has been tasked by the BC government to make recommendations on new provincial electoral boundaries before the next election. Under legislative requirements set in the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, the commission must seek to recommend electoral districts with populations within plus or minus 25% of the average electoral district population, which is about 57,000 people.
The commission is empowered to recommend the creation of up to six additional seats in the BC Legislature, meaning the total number of seats may be raised to a maximum of 93 (up from 87). The commission may also choose to recommend the merging of existing electoral districts.
A review of current electoral district populations shows that there is significant risk that communities in northern and rural British Columbia will lose representation in the Legislative Assembly. Northern BC, which has a population of just over 300,000, is currently represented by 9 MLAs. Should the commission choose to adjust riding boundaries to represent the provincial average, the number of seats in the north could be reduced to less than 6.
Representation is especially important in northern British Columbia, where lack of connectivity and inefficient transportation options provide barriers to access for elected officials and government. Many of our communities do not have adequate access to internet or cell phone service, making it difficult for residents to depend on virtual connectivity with their representatives.
The already vast geography of northern ridings makes it challenging to effectively represent constituents. This is exactly why protections had previously been put in place to protect rural ridings. With these protections now gone, our representation is at risk.
It is important that residents living outside of major population centres maintain access to their elected officials. Residents in Northern British Columbia deserve a right to meet with MLAs face to face and have effective representation at the provincial level.
While we all understand the vast geographical challenges our MLAs face today, we need to ensure that the Electoral Boundaries Commission fully comprehends the challenges surrounding the physical separation of our communities.
It is vital that British Columbians living in northern and remote areas across British Columbia recognize what is at stake in this ongoing riding boundary redistribution process. To protect our voices, residents can sign up to speak at an upcoming public hearing to express the importance of effective representation in northern and rural communities. Residents can also write the Commission or fill out an online survey at https://bcebc.ca
If you have any questions about the process, we encourage you to reach out to the Electoral Boundaries Commission (email@example.com), your local MLA (Dan Davies, 1-877-332-0101) or the Chamber office.
Fort Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce