Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)

MLA’S CORNER: Make your voice heard about local representation

I invite you to share your thoughts with the Commission

The foundation of our democracy is the idea of local representation. People elect individuals to represent their distinct needs and interests in the Legislature, trusting them to ensure that in a province as vast as B.C., their voices are heard.

Right now, B.C. has 87 electoral districts, with one person elected as an MLA for each. Broadly speaking, each district has around 50,000 people, however because of population growth and geography, this can vary considerably. As such, every two elections the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission (BCEBC) is created to re-evaluate electoral boundaries.

This process is currently underway in B.C., but this year the NDP government has chosen to remove protections that were put in place for rural ridings. You see, the BCEBC is supposed to balance electoral districts in such a way as to ensure adequate representation. This must involve consideration of both population size and other factors like connectivity, and the ability of constituents to make their voices heard to their local MLA. But without the previous protections for rural ridings, the BCEBC is more likely to amalgamate already massive rural ridings, to bring them closer to 50,000 people. This unfortunately ignores rural realities. It is much easier for someone in downtown Vancouver, who only has to walk or drive a few blocks to their MLA’s office, to visit their representative than it is for someone living in Anahim Lake, who is more than four hours away from my nearest constituency office. In rural B.C., we also deal with wildfires, floods, and other disasters and having adequate representation in Victoria is essential to advocate to government on behalf of those impacted.

I invite you to share your thoughts with the Commission directly, either online at bcebc.ca, writing a letter, or presenting in person. For those interested, the BCEBC is holding a meeting on April 29th at 3 p.m. in the Gibraltar Room — I hope to see you there.


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Williams Lake