Changes in riding boundaries not necessarily good for Langley

It has been to Langley’s benefit to have two MLAs and one MP speak up for this community. We will be losing that over the next few years.

I wonder if people are becoming immune to  the near-constant change in provincial and federal electoral boundaries.

Both levels of government appoint commissions to adjust boundaries every 10 years or so. As Langley is in one of the fastest-growing areas of the province, adjustments here are recommended each time the commissions meet. Inevitably, more MLA and MPs are added — a practice many citizens feel is wasteful.

At the provincial level, MLAs have represented the two Langleys and no other communities since the early 1980s. Prior to that, Langley was the name of a riding, but it often included portions of Surrey or Matsqui (now Abbotsford). There was no Langley riding before 1966, when Hunter Vogel was elected as the first Langley MLA.

Langley had been part of the huge Delta riding until that time. Delta included Richmond, Surrey, Delta, White Rock and the two Langleys, and even with two members (as it had from 1956-66), it contained far more people than many other B.C. ridings.

Since the 1991 election, there has been a Langley and a Fort Langley-Aldergrove riding. The latest commission looking at provincial boundaries is proposing to shrink the size of the Langley riding, and split Fort Langley-Aldergrove into two, adding significant portions of Abbotsford to each of the changed ridings.

A few people (myself included) have made submissions to the commission, suggesting that the boundaries more closely resemble municipal boundaries. MLA Rich Coleman is suggesting taking the portion of Langley east of 264 Street out of his Fort Langley-Aldergrove riding (essentially removing Aldergrove), and putting that portion of the Township into two Abbotsford ridings. He also suggests other adjustments in the western part of Langley, which would place much of Willoughby in the Langley riding.

On the federal scene, there will be new riding boundaries in this fall’s federal election. Mark Warawa has been the only MP ever elected in the Langley riding, which was first contested in 2004 and is made up solely of the two Langleys.

He will be running in the new Langley-  Aldergrove riding, which includes a portion of Abbotsford.

Langley City and a small portion of the Township has been added to the new Cloverdale-Langley City riding, which includes Cloverdale, Clayton and a portion of Surrey west as far as 144 Street.

Langley has been split between two MPs on several occasions in the past, but I think it is safe to say that most Langley residents have been much happier with one MP representing the entire community. I believe it has allowed Warawa to focus on the needs of Langley in Ottawa, and help channel federal funds here for a variety of projects , including the rail overpasses, Nicomekl River bridge and water and sewer improvements.

Most people don’t really care what riding they live in, but it has been to Langley’s benefit to have two MLAs and one MP speak up for this community. We will be losing that over the next few years.

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