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Commission calls for dropping Revelstoke from Kootenay-Columbia

The panel tasked with reviewing BC’s federal electoral map is suggesting moving the Revelstoke area out of the Kootenay-Columbia riding.

In an interview, Justice Mary Saunders, who chairs the electoral boundaries commission, noted that their task began with adding another riding somewhere in BC, and then rearranging the remaining ridings so that they all have a population close to 116,000.

“Our ambition is try to have people’s votes count more or less the same as in the surrounding areas in particular and in the province,” she says.

“In areas that had particularly great growth, it becomes unfair to those region’s voters because their ballots have less power than ballots in other parts.”

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Saunders says the two areas that had the strongest case for the extra seat were Vancouver Island and the southern interior. They have opted to recommend a new riding in the Okanagan to be called Vernon-Lake Country.

In making adjustments, they also noted Kootenay-Columbia’s population is now 121,000. They are suggesting hiving off Revelstoke and putting it in a riding with the Shuswap.

Conservative Rob Morrison is serving his second term as MP for Kootenay-Columbia MP, which is also home to the East Kootenay as well as Nelson, Salmo, and Kaslo, which were added in the previous round of electoral redistribution.

The commission will hold a series of public hearings in June to gather feedback on their proposal. The only stop in the Kootenays is June 20 in Cranbrook. The commission will also accept written submissions and hold an online meeting on Sept. 28.

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