Electoral Boundaries Commission Act under review

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THE B.C. government  is proposing to amend legislation to maintain existing northern and rural electoral districts and ensure that the number of provincial electoral districts stays at 85.

The proposed amendments to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act are outlined in a white paper released on Thursday by Attorney General and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton. The white paper is available for public comment.

British Columbia’s demographics have changed significantly since the act was first passed almost 25 years ago, and recent boundaries commissions have found it challenging to balance population growth with the need to ensure effective representation for northern and rural British Columbians.

If passed in the spring sitting of the legislature, the amendments will give the next Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) clear direction to preserve the existing number of electoral districts in northern and rural regions of the province when recommending new boundaries.

The Electoral Boundaries Commission Act requires that an independent three-member EBC be appointed within one year after every second provincial general election. The next EBC must be appointed by May 14, 2014.

Email and regularly mailed responses to the white paper can be made until January 15, 2014.

The white paper can be found online at:

http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/ebca/index.htm

Public input can be submitted to:

CPLOBoundaries@gov.bc.ca

Anton said: “Protecting the democratic rights of British Columbians is a fundamental responsibility of government. That’s why we are taking a leadership role in proposing legislative changes to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act. We encourage the public to read and provide input on the white paper, as this is something that impacts every British Columbian.”