Federal riding boundary changes will affect communities in B.C. Interior, MP Dan Albas says.
Albas, the Conservative MP for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, said the Federal Electoral Boundary Commission changes would alter his riding.
Communities within his present riding would end up in five different federal ridings, if the boundary changes are adopted. The proposed changes have not yet been ratified by the House of Commons.
Summerland, Peachland, West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and parts of Kelowna would be in a new riding called Okanagan Lake West-South Kelowna.
Princeton, Keremeos, Cawston and Hedley would become part of the riding of Similkameen-West Kootenay, which also would include the city of Penticton and the Penticton Indian Band.
Merritt and Logan Lake would become part of the new Kamloops-Thompson-Nicola riding.
“There is seldom a proposed solution to riding boundary changes that will please everyone,” Albas said. “Aside from regional considerations that are very important in rural areas, accommodating every point of view is not always possible.”
He added that the boundary changes are done by an independent commission whose members listened to feedback from the public.
Riding boundaries are reviewed every 10 years. The review, which began in 2022, will increase the total number of seats in the House of Commons from 338 to 343. British Columbia will have one additional seat in the House of Commons. However, accommodating the additional riding has resulted in numerous riding and boundary changes throughout the province.
The new riding of Okanagan Lake West-South Kelowna covers a smaller geographic area than the existing riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
Albas said the new riding will have a rural and agricultural character, with similar issues in many regions.
The boundary changes must now be approved in Parliament before they take effect. The earliest the changes will take effect will be April 1, 2024. If a snap election is called before that time, the present ridings will remain in effect.
Under Canada’s fixed-date election law, the next federal election can occur no later than Oct. 20, 2025. However, the present government is a Liberal minority. Albas said minority governments last around two years on average. The present government will reach its two-year mark this fall.
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