British Columbia could have six new ridings when voters go to the polls in the next provincial election.
The non-partisan Electoral Boundaries Commission released its recommendations Monday for new and re-drawn electoral districts, based on the results of the 2021 census and consultations across the province.
“British Columbia is a growing province,” commission chair and B.C. Supreme Court Justice Nitya Iyer said
“The population has increased by more than 300,000 people over the last five years. Our recommendation to increase the number of electoral districts in B.C. reflects that growth.”
Commissioners held 50 public meetings in 43 B.C. communities and received 1,300 written submissions in crafting the recommendations.
The commission is recommending the creation of new ridings in Langford, Burnaby, Langley, Surrey, Vancouver and Kelowna. That would raise the number of ridings in B.C. to 93, and the number of seats needed to form a majority government to 47.
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The Electoral Boundaries Commission is required by law to review B.C.’s ridings after every second provincial election. Under the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, it is tasked with balancing fair representation by population in each district with effective access to MLAs.
For B.C. voters to be fairly represented on a population level, the commission aims to have between 40,000 and 67,000 residents per riding, though exceptions above and below those figures are permitted in the interest of ensuring access to MLAs.
Iyer noted that many of the areas covered by the new ridings, particularly in the Lower Mainland, already exceed the 67,000 figure.
“The population of these areas is also increasing faster than the population of ridings in the rest of the province,” she said.
The recommendations propose some changes to the boundaries of numerous other ridings in the province.
Those changes are particularly acute in ridings adjacent to the newly-proposed districts, along with new names in some cases for adjusted ridings next to the new ones.
With the recommendations complete, the commission will begin a final round of public consultation, before issuing a final report on April 3, 2023, after which MLAs will vote on whether to accept some or all of the proposals.