Lake Country voters lumped with neighbours to the north

Published on February 9, 2023 by David Wylie

A map of the Souther InteriorPhoto: Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia
This map shows proposed federal electoral districts in the Southern Interior of BC.

It appears Lake Country residents will be voting alongside Vernonites—rather than Kelownians—in the next federal election.

The Report of the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province of British Columbia was tabled Thursday in the House of Commons.

The commission reworked the current 42 electoral districts in order to allow for 43 districts in BC.

Proposed new boundaries break up the former Kelowna-Lake Country riding, represented currently by Conservative MP Tracy Gray.

Lake Country would become part of a riding called Vernon–Monashee, along with Vernon and Coldstream (residents currently represented by Conservative MP Mel Arnold.)

“The proposed seventh Southern Interior electoral district centres on Lake Country and Vernon, extending somewhat along Okanagan Lake’s northwest reaches and to Armstrong. It includes, on its east, the area from Coldstream through Lumby and the Monashees to Nakusp and the Slocan Valley. The Commission would name this proposed electoral district Vernon–Monashee,” says the report.

Kelowna would be split into two ridings: ‘Okanagan Lake West–South Kelowna’ and ‘Kelowna.’

The next step is the report will be reviewed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Only one member of that committee is actually from BC, North Island-Powell River NDP MP Rachel Blaney.

Reconfiguring federal electoral district boundaries is required every 10 years. According to the 2021 census, BC’s population rose by 600,822 since 2011, bringing the total to 5,000,879 people.

The average population per electoral district is 116,300.