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New federal electoral boundaries proposed for British Columbia

Under new boundaries, Sea to Sky riding would get slightly smaller, B.C. would gain one seat
Federal Boundaries Map Clean
Image showing newly designated electoral boundaries for B.C.

New federal electoral boundaries have been proposed for British Columbia by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission.

The proposed changes are widespread across the province, with nearly every riding seeing some change. Overall, British Columbia will gain one new seat in the Okanagan, bringing the provincial total to 43 seats.

The most notable change within the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding is that it will lose the area around the Park Royal Mall up to 15th street in West Vancouver. This part of the riding will be added to the riding of North Vancouver.

With the redrawn boundaries, the Sea to Sky riding will encompass 119,000 electors in total.

“There was a real bump in population in [West Vancouver-Sea to Sky] as we went up. It made the riding very large in population, which would have been to the disadvantage of the residents in that riding. In a way, we thought that was undue if you compared it to the North Vancouver riding and the Burnaby-Seymour riding,” said BC Electoral Commission Chair Justice Mary Saunders.

“So we moved the boundaries on the North Shore westward, so that the North Vancouver riding picked up part of what used to be the West Vancouver riding, and that reduced the population in the West Vancouver riding enough that we thought it worked.”

As far as Metro Vancouver ridings go, the Sea to Sky got off easy. Across the Metro area, nearly every riding has been noticeably redrawn. Burnaby, for example, could end up being the best-represented city in British Columbia, with a total of six members of parliament sharing different parts of the city.

In the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, Area A (Bridge River region) and Area B (Lillooet) will change the most. These regions have been taken out of the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding and have been added to the new Kamloops-Thompson-Lytton riding.

Their former riding will be completely demolished and turned into a new Fraser Valley-focused riding called Mission-Maple Ridge, including the rapidly growing City of Mission to Hope and up to Lillooet Lake.

“The proposed changes to the electoral boundaries are only suggestions at this time. What is important is that everybody makes sure the Commission’s final proposal accurately reflects the interests of our communities, so Canadians are best served in Parliament,” said Brad Vis, MP for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon.

“I look forward to the public consultations and hearing my constituents’ thoughts on these proposed boundaries. I will conduct my own community-wide consultations to present the viewpoints of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon constituents to the Commission directly.”

Previous voting patterns of the electoral ridings were not taken into account when the new map was drawn up. This was done on purpose to avoid possible claims of gerrymandering.

“Fortunately, we simply don’t know the voting patterns. We don’t have that information. We’re not given it ... The information that is available to us is who the Member of Parliament is for a particular riding, but I don’t know whether that person was elected because the eastern part voted for them or the rural part voted for them or whatever,” said Saunders.

“So if, by chance, there should be an area and people look and say, ‘oh, you cut off everybody who votes [for a specific party],’ that would be as big a surprise to us as anything, because we just don’t know that.”

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia will be holding 27 public hearings, in-person and online. These will be done to gather comments and feedback on the proposed boundaries and electoral district names. If people wish to participate in one of these public hearings, a list of dates can be found here: https://redecoupage-redistribution-2022.ca/com/bc/phrg/index_e.aspx.