The suggestion that 100 Mile House and 108 Mile Ranch should be taken out of the Kamloops-Thompson-Nicola Riding and arbitrarily inserted in the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon Riding is absolutely ludicrous.
No, wait – it is worse than that.
Cariboo Regional District chair Al Richmond, who is also the CRD director for the 108 Mile, probably summed up the situation best on page A7 of this edition: “It’s just another slap in the face from some people in Ottawa for the people of the Cariboo-Chilcotin, and I’m not very happy about it.”
The fact is decisions are made in Ottawa that have a huge impact on the South Cariboo, and all of British Columbia for that matter, and people who have never set foot in the West make them.
These people sit in their ivory towers and draw lines on maps for the betterment of what they must perceive as the great unwashed in the western wilderness.
The independent Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission proposed this new electoral map for British Columbia because British Columbia’s population has increased and the province will gain six new seats (and power) in the Ottawa.
However, that doesn’t give them the right to pick an average population number they would like to see in each riding and then start carving out communities that don’t fit in the numbers game.
These folks are drawing a map without significant consideration to the make-up of the communities they’re tossing around.
Really, what do 100 Mile House and the 108 Mile Ranch have in common with Chillwack, which is where the power base is located?
We have a different industry base and different infrastructure issues and different population demographics. We are far more rural and face far different problems than those in the concrete jungle.
This kind of mean-spirited and arrogant thinking epitomizes everything that is wrong with the upper-level governments, both provincial and federal.
These suggested boundary changes will be considered at public hearings in the larger urban communities.
However, we can still make our voices heard and give some input to the folks back in Ottawa as to our feelings on the boundary changes.
Please look at the story on page A1 for more information on how to respond to how we might be represented in the nation’s capital.