Nanaimo-Cowichan electoral district could be split for next federal election

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for B.C.'s report redrawing the federal electoral map has been tabled in the House of Commons.

It looks like the current Nanaimo-Cowichan electoral district will be no more when the next federal election rolls around in 2015.

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia has submitted its report redrawing the province’s federal electoral map to the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, and the report was tabled in the House of Commons Monday (Jan. 28).

In the report, MP Jean Crowder’s electoral district becomes split into two districts — Nanaimo-Ladysmith (with a population of 114,998) and Cowichan-Malahat-Langford (with a population of 99,160).

The Town of Ladysmith falls into the Nanaimo-Ladysmith district, along with Chemainus Indian Reserve No. 13 and Oyster Bay Indian Reserve No. 12, while the District Municipality of North Cowichan falls into the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford electoral district, along with Penelakut Island and Thetis Island.

Crowder hasn’t had a lot of time to look through the report, but she says it is not substantially different from what the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission originally proposed, although it does include some changes coming out of the public consultations.

“In their proposals, they had put Lake Cowichan in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, and they had divided the city of Langford,” she said. “They’ve still gone over the Malahat, which a lot of people opposed. Although some points of input from our riding were heard, some other key parts were not.”

Now that the report has been tabled in the House of Commons, as an MP, Crowder will have 30 days to file any objections. There are no other avenues for public input, so Crowder encourages anyone who has concurs to send them to her office by calling 1-866-609-9998 or e-mailing jean@jeancrowder.ca.

Overall, British Columbia is gaining six electoral districts as a result of the increase in its population. Nearly two-thirds of the province’s electoral districts are located in the Lower Mainland region, and five new electoral districts will be added there. The Vancouver Island region gains one new electoral district, while the 36 existing districts are reconfigured.

The report — which can be found online — follows the public hearings that took place across the province between Sept. 10 and Oct. 18, 2012.

The changes won’t go into effect until the next federal election in 2015, explained Crowder.

By that time, Crowder will have served the Nanaimo-Cowichan district for 11 years, and she says it will be a big change in this region.

“It’s hard for me to see it divided up, but I recognize that population-wise, it was time to divide it,” she said.