Not long ago, Canada went through a process of revising the electoral riding boundaries. Here in Burnaby-Douglas, the proposal involved putting a major water barrier right through the middle of the riding.
There is only one bridge linking the two parts of the riding, and you actually have to leave the riding to cross the bridge. Not surprisingly, there was huge public opposition to the proposed new boundaries.
One of the main points was that, no matter where the MP's office is located, most of the people in the riding would not be able to reasonably access it, especially if they use public transit.
Many detailed, workable proposals that would avoid running a river down the middle of the riding were submitted. Essentially, no good reasons were presented as to why this ridiculous change should take place. At the public hearing I attended, about 50 citizens spoke against the proposal. Only one person spoke for it, and the best that he could come up with was to insult the rest of us.
Now the electoral boundaries commission has submitted its final proposal, and it is identical to the initial proposal. All of the citizens of Burnaby who spoke against the proposal were valued at nothing. All of the good, concrete reasons against the proposal were valued at nothing. The entire public consultation process appears to have been a sham.
With all the smart, experienced professionals on the commission, do they actually expect us to believe that the best solution they could think of was to run a river down the middle of the riding? This method of drawing random lines on a map without regard to the consequences is reminiscent of the way Hitler did things.
I do not believe that the commissioners are as insane as Hitler. I do not believe that they acted without a concrete reason, and the only concrete reason that remains that can explain the choice of boundaries is an attempt to alter the electoral outcome in this riding. This is called gerrymandering, and it is one of the sleaziest political tactics, ranking right up there with the omnibus bill. Once again, this Conservative government demonstrates its contempt for the citizens of this country and for the democratic process.
Victor Finberg, Burnaby
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