Electoral boundary changes proposed

Fraser Canyon to join riding with Mission and Matsqui

The new proposed federal electoral boundaries will see the Fraser Canyon join a new riding.

The Federal Election Boundaries Commission for B.C. released its report last week, which is now under review by the House of Commons. The review is part of a regular 10-year re-assessment of federal electoral boundaries to reflect population growth.

“The commission has a very difficult job to do and unfortunately remote communities are often the last to find a home it seems,” said Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl.

“They give greater consideration to the bigger population centers and then add those smaller remote communities as they need to. I do have concerns there. It seems that some of those communities (in the Fraser Canyon) certainly would be better paired with Chilliwack and Hope.”

The proposed Chilliwack-Hope riding would cover a fraction of the land of the current Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding, but would keep Chilliwack united. The riding’s new 92,734 population size would include areas south of Highway 1 such as Garrison Crossing, which were previously at risk of being joined to Abbotsford.

Most of the current Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding’s land would form a new Mission-Matsqui–Fraser Canyon riding, and absorb many communities north of the Fraser River, all the way from Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs, to Boston Bar and Ashcroft. Pemberton, meanwhile, would join a new West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country riding, tying the town to nearby Whistler.

Strahl said he’s happy to see Chilliwack and Hope remain in one riding, as there’s important links between the two communities geographically and economically.

“The commission heard compelling testimony from people in Chilliwack that the community should be kept together as one federal riding,” said Strahl.

“That then has a domino effect outside of that district. To get the right numbers, the City of Chilliwack was kept intact, Hope was added and there wasn’t any room really for any other communities to be added.”

The commission will submit its final report on boundary changes to the House of Commons in June.

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