The proposed boundaries for the new electoral areas add part of Courtenay to the North Island-Powell River riding. Photo courtesy Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia

LETTER – Proposed new federal electoral districts leave Vancouver Island disproportionally under-represented

British Columbia reached 5.21 million people as of July 1, 2021…

To the Editor,

I had the opportunity on June 6 to present my opinions to the BC Commission on the Redistribution of Boundaries for the Federal Electoral Districts.

I took issue with two of their preliminary proposals, the under-representation of Vancouver Island and the splitting of the city of Courtenay between two EDs. The boundaries they settle on by Oct. 1 will be in place for the next 10 years and since Vancouver Island is the fastest growing region in B.C., the distortions will be enormous by then.

British Columbia reached 5.21 million people as of July 1, 2021 with Vancouver Island’s population nearly 865,000. My arithmetic makes the average population for each of the 43 electoral districts to be 121,274, which means that Vancouver Island should have seven parliamentary seats, with no significant addition of mainland population. (Those mainland areas of Mt. Waddington and Strathcona Regional Districts have very sparse populations.) By leaving the Powell River District with its 20,000-plus population attached to Vancouver Island, each of the seven proposed EDs have in excess of 123,000 people, making them the largest in the province. By comparison the urban EDs in Vancouver are all below 20,000.

The splitting of the city of Courtenay between two electoral districts diminishes its importance in either. I find that unacceptable treatment of the largest municipality in the northern part of the Island.

I asked the commission to revisit its proposals for Vancouver Island and kindly suggested they start at the north end of the Island. When I added the 2021 populations for Mt. Waddington, Strathcona, and Comox Valley (minus Area A and Cumberland) I reached 120,930 which is so close to the average. We could resurrect Vancouver Island North.

If any of the readers are alarmed by these statistics and agree that Vancouver Island deserves better treatment, I would ask them to either email or write to the commission, at https://bit.ly/3OqDm0t

Delbert Doll,

Courtenay

Comox ValleyLetter to the Editor