Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May said she is satisfied the Harper government isn’t planning to tear up the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding to create a new South Island riding out of traditionally Conservative neighbourhoods.
A story in the riding’s Conservative Party newsletter Coastlines suggested the government will manipulate the riding boundaries as part of planned federal seat redistribution. May brought up the matter during a House of Commons question period recently and was told her fears about what she called boundary “gerrymandering” were unfounded.
Government house leader Peter Van Loan told her the federal statute governing redistribution sets out a process that is “run on a non-partisan basis by independent commissions.”
B.C. is expected to gain at least five seats under redistribution.
May said she found the answer “satisfactory.”
She said the Coastlines story, written by Bruce Hallsor — a Sidney lawyer and the riding’s election readiness chairperson — was a bit unsettling.
“Southern Vancouver Island will receive at least one additional seat as a result of redistribution,” Hallsor wrote in the newsletter.
In order to create the extra seat, Hallsor speculated that Saanich-Gulf Islands could drop the area south of McKenzie Avenue, the Gulf Islands or Gordon Head, or by losing some combination of these three areas.
“If you removed all three of these areas, and only had the area from Sidney to Broadmead, we would have won the last election,” Hallsor wrote. “Any likely redistribution scenario will either make the results of the last election closer or make (the Conservatives) the winners.”