Wednesday, February 6, 2013

British Columbia Redistribution Report, Pt. 2 - Van. Suburbs and RoBC

Finally I've gotten around to finishing up the recent redistribution report release for British Columbia. It took me awhile, battling all of my inner laziness demons (this stuff does take some time, just fyi), but I got it done. Hold your applause and gracious appreciation, thanks.

Part one covered the cities of Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria; this time we're going to cover the cities of New Westminster, Burnaby, and the Coquitlam suburbs, as well as the rest of British Columbia.

First, let's take a look at those Vancouver suburbs.

There has been some slight but important changes to the originally proposed boundaries. The first comes in the form of Port Moody-Coquitlam and Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, where there has been some shifting boundaries. The Coquitlam communities just across the water from Port Moody, which I believed are called Ioco, and Pleasantside, as well as the more westerly communities of Woodhaven and Coombe, have become apart of Port Moody-Coquitlam, stretching that riding's boundaries farther north instead of making it nice and compact like before. These communities trend heavily Conservative, making Port Moody-Coquitlam a fairly safe Conservative bet. However, it still has a lot of communities apart within Port Moody and Maillardville that will make it somewhat competitive for the New Democrats. While it does cover most of NDP MP Fin Donnelly's current riding of New Westminster-Coquitlam, you should consider this riding a "new" riding. I doubt Donnelly will try to run here, and instead opt to run in New Westminster-Burnaby.

Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam gains back some ridings in the meantime, taking over the community of Mary Hill from the riding of Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, which stretched itself over across the Fraser River in an odd way under the original proposal. The riding will maintain a strong Conservative majority in all likelihood, keeping James Moore happy at least.

New Westminster-Burnaby, formerly known as New Westminster-Burnaby East, will continue to surround the core of New Westminster, and a few polls from Burnaby. This is going to be a heavily NDP riding, safe for whoever runs in it. The same can be said pretty much for Burnaby South, which may be more competitive, but will be pretty safe for the NDP as well.

The same cannot be said for Burnaby North-Seymour, an odd riding which combines the northern suburbs of Burnaby with little communities on the north side of the Burrard Inlet. Deep Cove and Blueridge, two mostly Conservative communities currently apart of the riding of North Vancouver, will be combined with the NDP-Conservative dogfight across the Inlet. These communities will tip the edge in favour of the Conservatives, putting current MP Kennedy Stewart at risk (assuming he runs here).

On to the rest of BC, starting with the Interior.

There have only been some minor changes for the Interior's ridings, the most significant being in the south for the riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay. This riding, which is the successor riding for British Columbia Southern Interior, combines some moderately populated NDP communities with much more Conservative communities. Specifically, the changes - both in the original proposal and the report's boundaries - take out the town of Nelson, a big base for NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in 2011, as well as much of the surrounding area which are also mostly NDP, to Kootenay-Columbia. This leaves the riding more centered on the boundary communities and Penticton, much more Conservative-leaning, as well as additional Conservative polls from surrounding ridings. While it will be competitive, the riding will lean Conservative initially.

Kootenay-Columbia will be a little more NDP than before, but it won't flip. The same goes with many of the other ridings in the report, which are all Conservative strongholds.

The Fraser Valley region, basically Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon in the original proposal, and Chilliwack-Hope and Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon in the report boundaries, also see an interesting change, that mainly being the creation of a Chilliwack-centered riding. The more northern reaches of Fraser Valley will be a big rural riding that allows Chilliwack its own representation, a good move from the Commission in my opinion. Of course, they're Conservative holds.

Now on to the coast and the Island.

Vancouver Island has seen a lot of changes in the report, compared to the original proposal. Once again, the Commission has seen fit to give a small city its own riding - specifically Nanaimo, which will be within the riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith. The city itself tilts to the NDP, though its northern half is fairly Conservative; whether that is due to the fact that it is currently split up between Nanaimo-Alberni (a Conservative riding) and Nanaimo-Cowichan (a NDP riding) and the loyalties Nanaimo residents have to two different MPs, or if there is some demographics there that are Con-friendly, I don't know. Either way, it should lean NDP, but be competitive.

Courtenay-Alberni is a little more interesting. The City of Courtenay, formerly apart of Vancouver Island North, voted NDP in the last election, but the towns of Parksville and Qualicum Beach are heavily Conservative, and should keep the riding leaning towards them.

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford should probably go with the NDP, as it incorporates a lot of the non-Nanaimo communities that were apart of Nanaimo-Cowichan (Cowichan, Duncan, etc.) that voted mostly NDP, but had a lot of competition. The addition of some Conservative polls in the Langford area could make it interesting, though, hence the "probably."

Finally, Vancouver Island North-Comox-Powell River loses the NDP town of Courtenay, but gains the Conservative town of Powell River. Van. Island North has been very close in the past three elections, but this may make it a little more Conservative than before.

That should wrap it up for BC. If you're concerned about the northern ridings, don't be - they're all essentially the the same.

Now we're just waiting of Ontario and Quebec, which should come out later this month. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

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