Changing boundaries

The proposed changes to federal electoral boundaries in the Southern Interior of British Columbia make little sense.

The proposed changes to federal electoral boundaries in the Southern Interior of British Columbia make little sense.

The changes, which would affect the 2015 federal election, would put Summerland into the new riding of Central Okanagan-Coquihalla, the riding which will also include Kelowna.

Penticton would be in the riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay.

Considering the close ties between Summerland and Penticton, putting the communities into two different federal ridings is puzzling. The ties are not nearly as strong between Summerland and Kelowna.

Putting Penticton into the same riding as some of the West Kootenay communities is even more confusing. The South Okanagan is not the same as the Boundary and West Kootenay region.

This is not the first time the ridings have been awkward or puzzling.

In the 1990s, the riding which included Summerland and Penticton also included Hope, a community with strong ties to the Upper Fraser Valley but not to the Okanagan.

Electoral boundaries are redrawn from time to time in order to divide the province and the country into even, manageable segments, based on population.

The proposed changes will increase the number of seats in the House of Commons from 308 to 338.

While the principle is sound, redrawing boundaries quickly becomes complicated.

Each region in British Columbia has its own characteristics, based on age, income, economic activity and more. These characteristics must be respected.

Boundaries will need to be redrawn from time to time, but there are ways to do this without creating disjointed ridings and without putting communities into ridings where they do not fit well.

 

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