Re: MPs take issue with commissioner's comments, Burnaby NOW, Aug. 22.
The fact of the matter is, the proposal to merge North Burnaby with part of the North Shore to create a new federal riding called Burnaby-Seymour is not very innovative. It's been tried before.
In the early 1960s, our electoral district was called Burnaby-Coquitlam, and our MP was a fellow by the name of Tommy Douglas, who won the seat in a 1962 byelection and was re-elected in 1963 and 1965.
However, a redistribution in 1966 separated Burnaby residents from their neighbours to the east, lumped them in with those living on the north side of the inlet and the renamed the riding - yep, Burnaby-Seymour. And Tommy Douglas lost the seat two years later in the 1968 general election.
The northern boundary was returned to this side of the water eight years later, where it has remained since. It satisfied the generally held view that, other than a bridge spanning the Second Narrows, Burnaby and the North Shore really don't have much in common. The bridge, in fact, isn't there to facilitate relations between the two communities but, rather, serves only to (so to speak) pave the way for the Trans-Canada Highway.
Commissioner Stewart Ladyman states that "the North Burnaby-North Vancouver issue has been on the table for a number of commissions." I hadn't realized there was an "issue," so I visited the commission's website, and sure enough there is a reference in its 2002 report to "much angst" expressed by residents of both communities to the idea of a riding that bridged (sorry!) Burrard Inlet. Significantly, the commission of the day accepted the argument that there was an "incongruence in the interests and makeups of their respective cities, (and) that the proposed electoral districts would not serve the interests of the respective electorates."
Those words could have been written yesterday. So the commission shouldn't be surprised if both communities once again voice opposition to what undoubtedly will be viewed as a slavish adherence to numbers at the expense of community identity.
Bill Brassington, Burnaby