LETTER: MP disputes statements on electoral boundaries

David Wilks says new boundaries will not necessarily give Conservatives an advantage.

Re: “Changing electoral system will fix Canada’s problems,” May 20

In her commentary, Danette Moulé says “Non-Conservative voters were outraged when the Harper government changed the boundaries of many of Canada’s electoral ridings in 2012. The new re-drawn ridings will give the Conservative Party a much greater advantage in the upcoming election due to our electoral system, including here in Kootenay-Columbia.”

This is absolutely false information. The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission is composed of  ten independent electoral boundaries commissions — one in each province — established to revise the electoral district boundaries in their province.  Each commission is composed of three members. It is chaired by a judge appointed by the chief justice of the province and has two other members appointed by the speaker of the House of Commons.

Why do Canada’s federal electoral districts change? It is a legal requirement. The constitution and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act require that the number of seats in the House of Commons and the boundaries of federal electoral districts be reviewed after each decennial (10-year) census. This mechanism allows for changes and movements in Canada’s population to be reflected in House of Commons representation.

The 2012 redistribution exercise came to an end on Oct. 1, 2013, when the Governor in Council proclaimed the new representation order. The order comes into force on the first dissolution of parliament after May 1, 2014.

Finally, Ms. Moulé states that “The new re-drawn ridings will give the Conservative Party a much greater advantage in the upcoming election.” I would draw to your attention a statement by Alex Atamanenko in the Nelson Star on Feb. 6, 2013 in which he said “Adding Nelson and Kaslo to Kootenay-Columbia, it makes it even more difficult for the MP over there. That area is huge to start with.”

Thank you for allowing me to correct this misinformation.

David Wilks, MP

Kootenay Columbia

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