Green leader questions Conservative comment about reshaping her riding

A story in the riding's Conservative Party newsletter suggested the government will manipulate riding boundaries.

  • Oct. 23, 2011 7:00 a.m.

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth 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 that will vote Conservative in the next election.

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 last week, 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,” he wrote in the party newsletter.

In order to create the extra seat, Saanich-Gulf Islands can expect to shrink by losing the area south of MacKenzie Avenue, by losing the Gulf Islands and by losing Gordon Head, or by 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 us the winners.”

editor@saanichnews.com