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Tri-City ridings rejigged for next federal election
Tri-City voters will send two MPs to Ottawa in the next federal election — not three, as previously proposed by an independent panel tasked to redraw the electoral maps.
This week, the B.C. Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission tabled its final report in the House of Commons, calling for two new ridings set to become official this fall. The two new ridings will, in general, split the city of Coquitlam in half:
• north of Highway 7A (Barnet/Lougheed) plus the city of Port Coquitlam will make up the riding of Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam;
• south of Highway 7A plus the city of Port Moody and the villages of Anmore and Belcarra will be in Port Moody-Coquitlam.
Minus the north-side Port Moody and villages components, Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam will be essentially the same as the current riding of Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam, represented by Conservative MP James Moore.
But NDP MP Fin Donnelly will see a big change.
He represents New Westminster-Coquitlam but the new Port Moody-Coquitlam will be without a part of the Royal City, a key NDP stronghold.
“It is unfortunate the commission did not take more of the public’s concerns into account when making their decision,” Donnelly told The Tri-City News yesterday, adding, “As a member of Parliament for New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody, I was active in advocating to ensure our communities’ best interests and views were raised at every stage of the process.”
Last October, the three-person commission stopped in Coquitlam to listen to presentations from delegations about the planned redrawing to accommodate current populations as well as future growth.
At that time, many of the speakers — associated with the NDP federally and provincially — told the panel they would prefer a redistribution of the New Westminster-Coquitlam riding to hug the Fraser River; that is, a south New West-Maillardville-south PoCo alignment.
They argued having one MP represent New West and south Coquitlam, especially on transportation matters such as the United Boulevard bailey bridge, rapid transit and North Road congestion, would serve constituents well. They also argued the southern areas are historically linked by CP Rail.
Yesterday, Port Coquitlam Coun. Glenn Pollock, who spoke before the commission last October, said he’s pleased the panel kept his city intact.
In earlier documents, the commission had proposed dividing PoCo into three ridings. “Our concern was that Port Coquitlam could have been represented by a Liberal, a Conservative and an NDP MP — then we wouldn’t have gotten anything done,” Pollock said.
In an email response yesterday, MP Moore said, “We’re adding six new seats for B.C. For the first time in Canada’s history, B.C. will have the same number of citizens per MP as Quebec and Ontario. The riding boundaries serve the Tri-Cities well. Port Moody is whole, Port Coquitlam is whole, and they used the natural boundaries of the Pitt and Fraser Rivers.”
• The commission’s realignment is in response to the region’s massive population boom over the past five years. To see the full report, visit federal-redistribution.ca.