Monday, August 20, 2007

From the Citizen in PG

Electoral reform unites rural B.C.

(Opinion) Friday, 17 August 2007, 23:01 PST
by city editor Randall Heidt
You know something is a bad idea when every politician in northern B.C. -- regardless whether they are NDP, Liberal, municipal or regional -- unanimously speaks out against it.

But that's what happened when The Citizen talked with mayors, MLAs and regional district directors about the proposed changes in a B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission report that says the Prince George area and others should lose a seat in the legislative assembly.

"I'm absolutely and totally appalled," Prince George Mayor Colin Kinsley said in a Citizen story Friday.

That was pretty much the message from everyone else as well.

The report suggests the Northern Interior, Central Interior and the Kootenays should each lose one MLA, and the lost rural seats are to be redistributed among urban centres where population growth has occurred. There would also be the addition of two urban seats in Lower Mainland metropolitan centres.

We understand if population growth in the Lower Mainland necessitates the addition of seats, but it shouldn't be done at the expense of rural B.C.

The move would see the riding of Prince George-Omineca disappear. Most of its territory would be included in a new Bulkley-Nechako electoral district. A seat would also be lost in the Cariboo area.

In other words, if you think the North gets less attention than the ugly girl behind Paris Hilton on the red carpet, it's only going to get worse.

But you can do something about it.

The proposed changes will be discussed at a public hearing Sept. 5 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Coast Inn of the North. Go and make your voice heard. Or, log on to the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission website at and download a participation form. You may also phone the commission's office at (604) 660-1203.

Just do something.

The squeaky wheel is going to get the grease on this one, so let's make sure the North makes such an annoying amount of noise that it cannot be ignored.

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