Law planned to freeze MLA seats

Bill would cap legislature at 85 seats, protect rural constituencies regardless of population

Premier Gordon Campbell intervened in the last electoral boundaries review to keep rural seats from being eliminated.

The B.C. government is accepting public comments until Jan. 15 on a proposed bill to restrict the number of MLAs to the current level of 85, and to maintain the current rural and northern seats regardless of population.

Current law requires an independent Electoral Boundaries Commission to be appointed in May 2014 to consider changes. The government discussion paper is posted here.

The last review in 2008 recommended that an urban population shift should result in a reduction of one seat in the Cariboo-Thompson region and one in northern B.C. The government intervened keep those seats and increase the total constituencies from 83 to 85.

The B.C. Liberals and NDP agreed that northern constituencies could not get any larger and still be represented by a single MLA.

The 2008 review, chaired by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen, added seats in the Okanagan, Fraser Valley, Surrey, Burnaby-Tri-Cities and downtown Vancouver. It concluded that keeping all the rural seats was not consistent with the principle of representation by population.