The map of the proposed new federal ridings that would move Nelson to the Kootenay-Columbia.

Nelson in the political hinterland

If the federal riding boundary realignment is all about perception then it doesn’t look good for Nelson.

If the federal riding boundary realignment is all about perception — how we perceive ourselves and how we perceive others — then it doesn’t look good for Nelson.

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia has proposed that in the next federal election, Nelson voters help elect the Member of Parliament for the Kootenay-Columbia riding. It would land this community on the farthest western reaches of a new riding and align us with folks in the East Kootenay.

We all know the East Kootenay is the land of pick-up trucks, gun racks, country music and rednecks. That’s a world away from this patch of the province which is chock full of smart cars, bike racks, electronic music and hippies.

Of course the perception of both is far from the reality, but it’s safe to say that on the surface Nelson does not quite fit.

Beyond the snap judgement of perception, there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about the proposed re-drawing of the electoral map.

One of the main drawbacks of Nelson being shuttled east is that it removes us from our primary regional partners. In recent years the tri-city communities of Nelson, Castlegar and Trail have worked hard to foster better partnerships. The mayors and leaders in all three realize that as a collective we are much stronger when it comes to matching our rural economy with the rest of British Columbia and Canada. Though all three communities are each very unique, the challenges of our geography and isolation bind us together.

If the new electoral configuration goes ahead, both Trail and Castlegar will be represented in Ottawa by the MP from the new riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay.

Ottawa is the most distant government when it comes to everyday life in Nelson. Placing this community on the farthest edge of a new riding in order to bolster the population numbers for the East Kootenay seems arbitrary. If the new map is drawn, our political isolation in Ottawa will increase significantly. Surely this can’t be the goal of the commission.

 

Just Posted

Free shuttle running at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

Parking and main access have been ongoing challenges since KBRH construction began in October

Snowfall warning issued for Kootenay passes

Up to 35 cm of snow expected Monday night and Tuesday.

Business Buzz: The Buzz is Back in Nelson

Bob Hall is a volunteer director on the Nelson District Chamber of Commerce. His column appears in the Nelson Star once a month.

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Wicked weather, including heavy snow, rainfall, hammers southern B.C.

Environment Canada has posted winter storm warnings for the Coquihalla Highway, Highway 3

Caretaker jailed, must pay back money after stealing $260K from elderly B.C. couple

Antonette Dizon, now 50, had been hired to provide extra care for Henry and Helen Abfalter

Retailers feel the squeeze of their generous return policies

Technology data tracking can clamp down on fraudulent abuse

Canadians to get low-cost data-only mobile phone plans within 90 days: CRTC

Bell, Rogers and Telus will provide plans as cheap as 250MB for $15

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Vancouver Island

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Four per cent of Canadian women report being sexually harassed in the workplace

One per cent of men report being sexually harassed in the workplace

Most Read