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EDITORIAL: Riding two horses at once
Considering its mandate to try to equalize the populations of all federal ridings, the Federal Boundaries Commission for B.C. has a tough job.
At regular intervals, it must respond to shifting population numbers — between provinces and rural to urban, for example, to achieve its mandate.
That sounds simple enough. Redrawing riding boundaries without dividing communities and alienating local residents makes the commission’s work much more complex.
After an initial proposal for the sprawling Vancouver Island North riding that would have bisected Courtenay, and another that would have divided Cumberland, the FBCBC settled on what was behind Door No. 3.
In its final judgment, the commission has removed most of the Comox Valley from Vancouver Island North.
All of Courtenay and Cumberland plus Denman and Hornby islands will slide over into a new riding called Courtenay-Alberni.
The new riding will include Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet and land stretching down to about Lantzville.
It’s not clear what this large chunk of the Comox Valley has in common with the rest of the new riding. Then again, what did Comox have in common with Port Hardy in the previous riding?
The ramifications of having two MPs representing various sections of the Comox Valley will likely depend on the parties represented by the members of Parliament whom voters elect.
Will either MP be in the governing party after the next federal election in October 2015?
If current MP John Duncan runs again, he will have to pick a riding. Duncan, a Conservative, might notice the number of departing NDP supporters in Courtenay and Cumberland. Ditto the number of right-leaning Comox residents who remain in Vancouver Island North.
Surely there must be some Conservative support in Qualicum Beach and Parksville, which are also part of Courtenay-Alberni.
We’ll no doubt get politics as usual whatever riding we’re voting in.