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Proposed electoral boundary changes raise concerns all over Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon: MP

Keeping communities of interest together should be the focus of changing Canada's federal electoral boundaries, rather than simply meeting population criteria, says Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl.

"Certainly an argument could be made that the neighbourhood of Promontory has more in common with the neighbourhood of Garrison Crossing than it does with 100-mile House," Strahl said in a news release Monday.

Under the proposed changes, Garrison Crossing would be hived from the current Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding and added to the Abbotsford-Sumas Riding.

100-Mile House in northern B.C. would be added to the Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding, along with neighbouring Pemberton.

Strahl said he's heard from "constituents all over the riding" who are "concerned with the changes being proposed, from those who don't want to see Chilliwack divided, to Pemberton residents wishing to join their neighbours in Whistler."

"I share many of their concerns and I hope the commission will give them all careful consideration," he said in the news release.

Strahl said the federal electoral boundaries commission "seems to have forgotten" the concept of "grouping communities of interest or identity to achieve the goal of effective representation in Parliament."

Strahl was not immediately available for further comment.

No public hearing on the proposed change is scheduled for Chilliwack, but an Abbotsford hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19 at the Ramada Plaza & Conference Centre starting at 7 p.m.

After the hearings, the proposed boundary changes go back to the commission and to federal politicians for comment before a final report is made in the spring of 2013.

Every 10 years the federal electoral boundaries map is redrawn based on a formula that divides a province's population by an "electoral quotient" to determine the number of seats it gets in the House of Commons.

B.C. would get an additional six seats as a result of the redistribution. The average riding population would be 104,763. Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Vancouver and Kelowna are the fastest-growing regions in B.C.

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