When it comes to federal ridings, Burnaby will be split into three, despite widespread opposition from local residents and MPs.
B.C.'s electoral boundaries commission was tasked with re-drawing the riding maps to accommodate the province's growing population and suggested splitting Burnaby into three ridings, one of which spans the Burrard Inlet and connects with a sizeable area on the North Shore to create Burnaby North-Seymour. Despite public opposition to the idea, the commission tabled its report today in the House of Commons, suggesting to proceed with the changes.
"It's pretty big news for Burnaby," said Kennedy Stewart, MP for Burnaby-Douglas. "I was really disappointed in the commission. The process is supposed to be where three neutral and learned commissioners sit down and listen to the public."
Burnaby now has two federal ridings: Burnaby-Douglas, which covers the northern half of Burnaby, and Burnaby-New Westminster, which includes the south and a portion of neighbouring New Westminster. The three new ridings for the city are: Burnaby South, New Westminster-Burnaby, and Burnaby North-Seymour.
Stewart's Burnaby-Douglas riding would be split in half, and the northern portion would combine with a piece of the north shore to form Burnaby-North Seymour. Both Stewart and Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian spoke against the idea, as did members of the public who attended the hearings held by the commission in the fall.
Pundits predicted the change would give the Conservatives an advantage, and Stewart agrees.
"It will be a much tougher election, that's for sure," he said.