In many places in the world you can equally divide your population and use this as a basis for electing representatives to govern (e.g. Great Britain, Belgium, Netherlands).
However, this is not the case when you start working on redistribution in a geographically huge country such as Canada with the majority of the population living in urban centres and the rest spread out over enormous rural and remote territories.
This new proposed distribution now before us — using B.C. as an example — would put the legislative power into the hands of urban representatives and leave the rest of the population with little or no power in Ottawa.
With 42 constituencies, there would be 26 from the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, six from the South Island and 10 seats remaining for the rest of the province.
If legislation comes forward in Parliament that would affect the resource development, economic development, environmental problems, social needs, etc., would those members representing the urban population have an understanding of these problems or even care? Where would support come from?
I do not know who the members of the Electoral Boundaries Commission are, where they come from, and how they were appointed.
But I suggest that anyone could sit down with the census figures and a map and divide the province up the way they have. No need for research or innovative thinking.
The Comox Valley is an example of this type of action. We have a common school district, regional district, business and recreational activities. The only thing missing in this map is common sense.
The commission states “while factoring in communities of interest or identity, historical patterns and geographic size.” Well, they really blew that one.
We must ensure that all Canadians, wherever they live have at least a chance of some equal representation and if that means a certain amount of weighting for underpopulated areas, then so be it.
I am sure that the public meetings will bring forth many suggestions for improvement but I hope those who get on their soap boxes don’t become too verbose but offer brief, practical solutions to the commission hearings and not miles and miles of rhetoric.