Editorial — Langley's voice in Ottawa will be diluted

If proposals by the commission looking into federal election boundaries come to pass, Langley’s representation in Ottawa will be significantly diluted.

At present, both Langleys and the two First Nations reserves in Langley — the Kwantlen and Katzie — are represented in the House of Commons by MP Mark Warawa. He is able to speak for their interests with a very clear voice, and has represented this community well in Ottawa.

The proposal would split Langley up into two ridings, but both would be shared with adjacent municipalities — both of which are significantly larger than the two Langleys put together.

In many ways, the proposal is a case of deja vu all over again. It is going back to the representation Langley had before the 2004 federal election. Langley City and a small portion of the Township was lumped in with South Surrey and White Rock, with the rest of the Township in a riding shared with western Abbotsford.

At that time, most Langley residents, no matter where they lived. thought that their MP was Randy White, who represented Langley-Abbotsford. His national reputation and strong presence in the community overshadowed MP Val Meredith, who was rarely seen in Langley City, which was an appendage to her riding.

The new boundaries call for Langley City and the portion of the Township south of it, and west of 216 Street, to be part of a riding that will be dominated by Cloverdale. As Cloverdale is a fast-growing area and would contain a good portion of the population, it is likely Langley concerns will play second fiddle.

The other riding would include the rest of the Township, including fast-growing Willoughby, and all of Abbotsford to the west of Mount Lehman Road. The proposed riding name is Fort Langley-Aldergrove, even though both communities are a small fraction of the area. A provincial riding with the same name would cause further confusion.

Both Langley councils and community grouips should examine the boundaries closely and suggest alternatives. There is no reason that Langley cannot remain as one riding. In population density, it is close to the average for B.C. federal ridings.

A hearing on the proposed boundaries takes place in Langley on Sept. 18. Interested citizens need to take part and ensure that Langley’s voice isn’t diluted in Ottawa.

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