Electoral Districts Act preserves rural seats, increases urban ridings

New electoral map maintains the number of districts in rural and northern B.C. and creates two new districts in the Lower Mainland.

VICTORIA – Attorney General Suzanne Anton introduced Bill 42 today, the Electoral Districts Act, to adopt the Electoral Boundaries Commission’s (EBC) final report.

The new electoral map maintains the number of districts in rural and northern B.C. and creates two new districts in the Lower Mainland – all to ensure effective representation for British Columbians.

The independent commission presented its report to Government in September, and the Legislative Assembly voted to adopt its proposals.

Among them:

* Increasing B.C.’s electoral districts to 87 from 85, with new ridings in Surrey and Richmond/New Westminster to reflect growing population in these areas.

* Preserving current districts in the North, Cariboo-Thompson and Columbia-Kootenay regions, to ensure citizens in less-densely populated, yet geographically large, districts can be effectively represented by their MLAs.

* Boundary changes to 48 districts, including substantial changes in the Fraser Valley, Hope/Princeton and Comox Valley/mid-Vancouver Island regions.

The EBC undertook province-wide consultations in developing its recommendations which, if today’s amendments are passed, will take effect for the 2017 and 2021 provincial general elections.

The Electoral Boundaries Commission Act requires that an independent three-member commission be appointed within one year after every second provincial general election.

The Electoral Boundaries Commission Final Report is published online at http://bc-ebc.ca/docs/reports/BC-EBC_Final_Report-Sept_24,_2015.pdf, and information on the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act can be found on http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96107_01