And the new member of Parliament for the riding of Vancouver-Granville is-
Vancouver-Granville? That is correct-Vancouver will add a sixth riding that will take away some voting areas from the city's existing five ridings and likely be in place for a general election in 2015.
"It may be that some of the MPs will be happy or unhappy-I have no idea," said John E. Hall, chairperson of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission of British Columbia.
That's why, Hall said, the commission will hold public hearings beginning in September to hear from residents or any politicians before sending its report to a House of Commons committee for final approval.
The hearings, which include a Sept. 24 stop at Simon Fraser University's Harbour Centre campus, are necessary because B.C. is getting six new ridings for a total of 42. By law, after every 10-year census is conducted, Canada's electoral boundaries are revised to reflect shifts and growth in the population.
The proposed Vancouver-Granville riding covers a big chunk of the city's core, including parts of Kitsilano, Fairview Slopes and runs the length of the Granville Street corridor from the south end of the Granville Bridge to Marpole. "Since it runs down the spine of Granville Street, we decided that Vancouver-Granville was the proper name," Hall said. "I should tell you that one of the things that can happen, is that when the parliamentary people get a hold of it, they often change the names of ridings."
The goal of the commission was to draw boundaries to evenly distribute populations in each riding. Hall said the commission chose to map out a riding in the core of the city because it achieved the "numerical balance" of 101,879 people without any significant changes to the five other ridings. "It was convenient to do that and I think actually that's the best solution because you don't really change the character of the existing seats," he said.
This month, residents are expected to receive in the mail a 20-page document outlining the proposed ridings and dates of the hearings. Vancouver-Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray said she won't attend the hearings because the Conservative-led government already decided an additional 30 new MPs are needed in the country. "I don't, at this point, see a need for me to intervene in the process," she said. "It's unfolding on the foundational premise that we need 30 more members of Parliament in Canada, which I disagree with."
Under a Liberal scheme, Murray said, ridings in Canada could be redistributed to more accurately reflect representation in Ottawa without adding more MPs, or costs to taxpayers. Murray said the Liberals' plan never got to the point where details were finalized for a redistribution plan in Vancouver.
Murray was re-elected in her riding in May 2011 after defeating Conservative challenger Deborah Meredith by 2,050 votes. She said losing the eastern portion of the riding to a new riding would likely not affect her at the polls. "I don't think the changes in my riding make more than a marginal difference-it's probably slightly to the positive," she said, noting, however, the NDP's popularity in the past election was a factor in voting patterns.
Hall said an analysis of which polls political parties won and lost in a riding is not done when creating boundaries for a new riding. "I have no idea where the strength of that riding lies at all," he said when asked about changing Vancouver-Quadra's boundaries. "If you asked me, I'd be as ignorant as anybody on the street and I think it's a good thing that we don't know that because, really, we're not concerned with the political aspect of it."
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