Ridings re-draw won't make everyone happy
My wife and I attended the first hearing of the Commission for Redistribution of the BC Federal Electoral Districts on Sept. 10 in North Vancouver.
We were most impressed with the respect the commissioners afforded all presenters. Presenters are equally to be commended for their passion and sincerity.
It soon became clear how difficult it must be to consider all presentations and be fair to all. This was particularly clear when similarities of culture, lifestyle, economics and education were pointed out with regards to each side of the proposed boundary on the Sunshine Coast. One might understand why the two components wish to be treated as one. West Vancouver looks like a different entity from that angle.
Although other presenters were as passionate about their perceived differences between North Burnaby and Seymour, these arguments sounded hollow in comparison. There is no need for handicapped seniors to attend all-candidate election meetings or to vote on the other side of the bridge. Why contemplate a change of shopping habits or adjust one's life style because electoral boundaries have changed? Some presenters seemed to see these as unavoidable outcomes and it was definitely unacceptable to them.
Had I been an unbiased observer it could have been amusing to be told how the Second Narrows (with a bridge) is an obstacle which keeps the people living on either side of the water forever separated and different. Yet a much larger body of water between Comox and Powell River was presented as a unifying common denominator there.
The last presenter from Gibsons put into words what others may have deliberately avoided saying: she does not like being represented by a Conservative MP! She felt deprived of her rights as a voter and, I suppose, expected the commissioners to fix that problem as well.
Although I have no reason to believe her concerns will receive more attention than is due, it highlights once again how difficult it must be to be fair to all.