Editorial: Riding changes need a rethink

This year, federal electoral boundaries commissions are redrawing riding maps to squeeze in 30 more seats.

This year, federal electoral boundaries commissions are redrawing riding maps to squeeze in 30 more seats, including six more in British Columbia (giving us a total of 42).

For many people in the Capital Region this is a yawn-inducing exercise that won’t impact their lives. But for people in the western half of Saanich, the West Shore, Vic West and Sooke, the riding they live in could change significantly.

The commissions are out to create ridings encompassing roughly 111,000 people. Greater Victoria could get a new, geographically small urban riding called Esquimalt-Colwood – effectively everything west of the Blue Bridge and east of Veterans Memorial Parkway in Langford and Colwood.

In turn, the old Esquimat-Juan de Fuca riding, created in 1987 and spanning from Esquimalt to Port Renfrew, would see its urban base gouged, then be fused with the Cowichan Valley, from Ladysmith south.

This may work on a map, but it seems to ignore the geographic, cultural and economic realities of the south Island. The Malahat creates a sharp divide in many ways between Cowichan and Greater Victoria.

Creating federal ridings that meet population criteria and mesh with regional realities is tough, but boundary commissioners in B.C. may want to sharpen their pencils again for the Island. People interested in how their riding could change can visit www.redecoupage-federal-redistribution.ca. The commission is accepting written submissions until Aug. 30.

A public hearing goes Oct. 17 in Victoria.

Have your say on where you vote.


Thoughts are with Olympians

As the Olympic torch is lit in London today and athletes begin competing on a global stage, our thoughts and hopes are with those who we’ve found training on our lakes, roadways and nearby gymnasiums.

We wish Island Olympians and all the Canadians the best of luck as they pursue their dreams and represent their country with pride.

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