“Riding boundaries redrawn to benefit Conservative party?” May asks

In Question Period today, Member of Parliament for Saanich Gulf Islands and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May asked Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Democratic Reform, how new riding boundaries would be determined, including her riding in British Columbia.  May said the question was spurred by a Conservative Riding Association newsletter being handed out in her riding that makes clear certain riding boundaries would benefit a Conservative candidate.

“I simply wanted to know on what criteria the Government of Canada plans to determine the new boundaries for ridings,” said May.  “In particular, are riding boundaries being re-drawn due to population or due to the population of Conservatives?”

The Conservative Riding Association newsletter describes several ways the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands could be redrawn, concluding, “Any likely redistribution scenario will either make the results of the last election closer, or make us the winners.”

Question Period Transcript:

Elizabeth: Thank you Mr. Speaker,

Earlier today I shared with the Minister for Democratic Reform the newsletter of the Saanich Gulf Islands Conservative Party. As you know, I’m so proud to represent the people of Saanich Gulf Islands, and I’m sure he’ll be as distressed as I am by that party’s transparent plan for gerrymandering in the hopes of winning the riding back. They write, “If you remove South of Mackenzie, lose the Gulf Islands, lose Gordon Head -well, you remove all these three areas-well, we would have won the last election.” Will the Minister reassure us that the redistribution will be by population and not by population of Conservative voters?

Speaker: The Hon. Government House Leader

Hon. Peter Van Loan:  Thank you Mr. Speaker,

The statute is quite clear, it sets out a process for redistribution that’s run on a non-partisan basis by independent commissions. Those will be under way in the appropriate time, but under our legislation we will ensure that there is a formula in place that ensures the people of Saanich Gulf Islands, of British Columbia, in fact, of all of Canada will have fair representation that has long been denied to them.