Kamloops riding could change
When voters in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo go to the polls in the next federal election, they might wonder if they are in the right riding.
The federal government has proposed legislation that would see the House of Commons expand by 30 seats, including six new seats in B.C. — which could mean a revision of the boundaries in the Kamloops-area riding.
MP Cathy McLeod said she won’t be surprised if there are changes to the riding, but she wouldn’t speculate on possible adjustments.
“Certainly I’ve enjoyed the variety of this riding and we’ll just have to see how it changes,” she said.
The government is forming an independent, non-partisan electoral-boundary commission to determine the new borders, based on population.
McLeod expects the commission will also take geography into consideration during the process.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo is one of the largest geographical ridings in the province and country, stretching east past Clinton and north beyond Valemount to the Alberta border.
There 114,000 people in the riding, based on 2006 census numbers.
McLeod also wouldn’t say if she would like to see the riding boundaries shrink.
The addition of new seats is expected to cost $11.5 million for each election and $14.8 million annually in operational costs for the House of Commons.
McLeod defended the expense, noting due to constitutional commitments, the boundaries cannot be adjusted within the existing seat numbers.
She said the new formula would bring the country as close as possible to fair representation, given the constraints of smaller provinces.
The boundaries and seats are expected to be in place by the next federal election, scheduled for 2015.
Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar said he would welcome the potential ear of second MP within the city’s boundaries.
He noted his own initial opposition a few years back when there was a suggestion Aberdeen would be part of the Penticton/Logan Lake riding but said he realized Kamloops would have two member of Parliament representing the city.
“More MPs advocating on our behalf wouldn’t be a bad thing,” he said, adding it would also be positive for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, which now has representation from four federal politicians.