New boundaries are confusing

Proof of the utter confusion caused by the periodic redrawing of electoral boundaries came in The Times’ coverage of the issue on Thursday.

Not only was the map we published incorrect, as has been noted by some astute readers, but so was our description of the actual changes to the boundaries, which will split Langley up among two MPs and give the community less of a voice in Ottawa. This is mainly because both MPs will have to manage large populations from the adjacent cities of Surrey in one case, and Abbotsford in the other.

A corrected version of the story is now online and in this issue of The Times, with details of the newly-proposed boundaries, as outlined in the commission’s revised recommendations.

This exercise takes place every 10 years and is particularly confusing in the Lower Mainland, because of the rapidly-growing population. Whereas most MPs have represented geographical areas that were, for the most part logical, many of these proposals aren’t. This is largely due to the decision made by the federal government, and agreed to by Parliament, that B.C. should have six additional MPs to help correct population imbalances with other parts of Canada.

The new Cloverdale-Langley riding will lump the City of Langley and Willoughby —  the fastest-growing area of the Township — with Cloverdale and Clayton, which are fast-growing areas of Surrey. It is somewhat similar to boundaries a decade ago, when Langley City and a small portion of the Township was attached to White Rock and South Surrey.

While there are many more overlapping interests with the Cloverdale area than there were with White Rock, as Langley City and Cloverdale have historically had many ties, the fact that Clayton is growing so fast and will likely keep doing so will almost certainly mean less attention will be paid to Langley issues by the MP elected in the new riding.

The other riding, to be called Fort Langley-Aldergrove, includes a large portion of western Abbotsford. At this time, most of that part of Abbotsford is rural, other than the new developments just east of Aldergrove. It will include a portion of Bradner, the gravel pits in western Abbotsford, and some industrial and agricultural areas west of Mount Lehman Road and south of Highway 1. It will not include the fast-growing area of Abbotsford just east of Mount Lehman Road.

Langley interests will predominate in this riding, which would likely be the one current Langley MP Mark Warawa would choose to run in. But Abbotsford is growing fast and there is a possibility that the urban population in this part of Abbotsford could expand as the years go by — subject to the Agricultural Land Reserve, and existing gravel quarries.

The bottom line for citizens should be this — will Langley be better represented in the House of Commons after the new boundaries are in place. On balance, that seems quite unlikely.

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