Proposed changes to federal ridings will affect voters who are now part of the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission has recommended the changes in its final report, tabled before the House of Commons on Feb. 8.
Federal riding boundaries are reviewed every 10 years. The Federal BC Electoral Boundaries Commission, a non-partisan commission, has recommended changes affecting ridings throughout the province.
One riding will be added to the Southern Interior of B.C. This will affect boundaries for other ridings.
MP Dan Albas, who represents the existing riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, said the proposed changes will affect his riding.
The existing riding was created in 2013 from the ridings of British Columbia Southern Interior, Kelowna-Lake Country and Okanagan-Coquihalla. It has a total population of 122,340 and includes the communities of Summerland, Princeton, Keremeos, Logan Lake, Peachland, West Kelowna and part of Kelowna.
He said if the changes are adopted, portions of this riding will end up in five different British Columbia ridings.
Princeton, Keremeos, Cawston and Hedley would join the proposed riding of Similkameen-West Kootenay, which would also include the city of Penticton and the Penticton Indian Band. Summerland, Peachland, West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and parts of Kelowna will become part of a new proposed riding called Okanagan Lake West-South Kelowna. Merritt and Logan Lake would become part of a new riding called Kamloops-Thompson-Nicola.
Other riding changes will affect riding boundaries in the rest of the Okanagan Valley and beyond.
“It is challenging for the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission to balance population growth with the input of many community considerations,” Albas said.
“I believe it is crucial for both local and regional government representatives and local citizens to be aware of these proposed changes and consider the accessibility of current electoral boundaries compared to what is proposed.”
Albas added that the proposed changes could affect voters in the next federal election, depending on when the election is called.
Under Canada’s fixed-date election law, the next federal election must occur on or before Oct. 20, 2025. However, it is possible to have an election before that time.
Albas said if the changes are adopted, an election before the spring of 2024 would still use the existing riding boundaries. After that time, the new riding boundaries would take effect.
The changes increase the number of seats in the House of Commons from the present 338 to 343.
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