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LETTER: Proposed federal riding boundary changes need local discussion

Dear Editor:

I am writing about hearings that are to be held in our area with respect to the way the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission has decided to divide up the province between Members of Parliament.

Hearings in our area are scheduled for Nelson on October 2, 2012 and Castlegar on October 3, 2012. None are scheduled for Trail.

One might wonder why the commission has decided to stay out of Trail. Particularly as it has proposed sending Fruitvale, Montrose and Salmo into the East Kootenay riding, to be represented by a member of parliament whose seat is anchored by Cranbrook.

That's perhaps no less difficult to understand than leaving Trail, Warfield and Rossland to be represented by a member of parliament whose seat is anchored by Penticton.

In either case, one might expect local folk to have the opportunity to speak to the commission in the area most affected by their decisions.

When I wrote the commission to express my own concerns they let me know that they are already holding more hearings outside of urban centres than the Alberta Commission is, and that they will not likely be changing the established set up in BC.

They did say that interested local people could send them a letter. I hope many will, especially as the deadline for letters is August 30, 2012, a full month short of the hearing dates listed above.

Those with concerns about the proposals, and/or the hearing locations should write the commission at: Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia - #301, 1095 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC  V6E 2M6.

Or you could email them at: BC-CB@rfed-rcf.ca.

I'm sure they would appreciate input and feedback from local residents. After all, they are coming to Castlegar and Nelson to hear our voices.

Thank you for giving some time to this issue.

Sincerely,

Keith Simmonds

Trail, BC.