Merritt will officially incorporate a new federal electoral district starting the next federal election.
On July 20, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission concluded its work of redrawing British Columbia’s federal electoral map. The current 42 electoral district boundaries will soon be 43, according to the final report approved by the commission.
Its most significant alterations to boundaries in the Southern Interior were done in order to accommodate the creation of B.C.’s new additional electoral district, to be called Vernon–Lake Country.
According to the final report, Merritt and Logan Lake have incorporated Kamloops’ district, changing its name to Kamloops–Thompson–Nicola, which would mean that Albas would no longer represent Merritt and the Nicola Valley.
MP Dan Albas, who represents the current riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola which Merritt is currently incorporated, said the changes approved caused mixed reactions.
“Logan Lake, they have always considered themselves to be in the catchment area of Kamloops. This is something that they have been advocating for quite a long time,” he said. “In Merritt, you know, it’s not quite the same sense as Logan Lake. But so far, the response I got back was mixed from Merritt.”
Albas has been representing Merritt for the past eight years, and said the change has affected him a lot, as he loves Merritt.
“My biggest con is that I love Merritt,” he said. “The people in Merritt have always had an open for business, very friendly, warm, and hospitable. It’s an area that I take great pride in saying that Merritt is one of my communities.”
Albas said he is glad the commission chose B.C’s interior instead of Vancouver Island, which had the same population growth as the interior.
“They’ve chosen the interior of British Columbia to receive a new riding, which has caused a domino effect for all these changes. That is very positive,” he said. “I’m very supportive of seeing more representation from the interior of British Columbia.”
The changes will become effective on the first dissolution of Parliament, that occurs at least seven months after the representation order is declared to be in force by proclamation of the Governor-in-Council.