Previous Public Input Received
The following input and submissions were gathered by the commission through public hearings held in 29 communities throughout B.C. from September to November 2014. The public also provided input through the online submission form, by email and by mail to be reviewed and considered as the commission develops a Preliminary Report for further public input.
< All input received
Posts

    Rickson Ferguson, Merritt
    2014-11-16

    I would like to add my input into the current Electoral Boundaries Re-distribution process. I support the opinion of those who would like to see Hope and the Fraser Canyon area added back into Fraser-Nicola. When it was known as Yale-Lillooet our constituency functioned really well and did not require any “fixing” at the time.

    I am a retired teacher and have lived in Merritt for 34 years. As someone involved in the Education system for 32 years here in Merritt, I see a lot of commonalities between the Nicola-Similkameen school district I live in and the neighbouring Gold Trails and Fraser-Cascade school districts. As a teacher union leader I regularly worked with teacher union representatives from those regions. We shared many of the same issues and concerns. Our collective voice over the years were heard and understood my our MLA. He would bring our concerns to Victoria and if needed would arrange meetings for us to speak with the appropriate Ministry personnel. Now our voices are diminished – in some cases drowned out by larger communities that do not share nor understand the issues and concerns of rural communities.

    We would be far more effective in highlighting our shared issues (fighting cuts to programs, school closures, Aboriginal are quashed. Education, etc.) and able to lobby the provincial government together in one constituency represented by a singular MLA as we were prior to 2009. We are now in separate constituencies and our voices weakened by being divided.

    Besides education issues that I worked on with rural teachers that were in the pre-2009 riding we shared and continue share social and economic issues like transportation, snow removal and highways maintenance, forestry, ranching, health care, policing, Aboriginal title and rights amongst others. Our collective voice has been muted; our effectiveness lessened. I was a member of the Board of Governors of what was the Thompson Health Region with representatives from Ashcroft, Lytton, Boston Bar, Cache Creek and Lillooet. Rural communities needed then and still need to be able to meet, share and express our concerns to a shared MLA. Our voices provided balance to a Governing Health Board heavily weighted by representatives and management personal from Kamloops. We regularly held meetings in each of the smaller communities giving voice the people. The current Health Board never meets in smaller communities. The voices of rural people have been silenced.

    By continuing to methodically divide our rural communities their democratic rights are quashed. The collective voice of these towns served their citizens well. The pre-2009 electoral boundaries brought together disparate communities that found shared interests and were able to bring those interests forward to their shared MLA.

    I have seen a lot of changes over the years, some good and some not. Taking Hope and the Fraser Canyon out of Fraser-Nicola was a bad idea. The Hope area has a lot more in common with the smaller communities in Fraser-Nicola than it does with the larger Chilliwack.

    Further, we now find ourselves as a constituency with a declining population. It would be prudent if the Commission were to reinstate to Fraser-Nicola the area from Hope to Boothroyd that was removed in 2009.

    Thank you for your time.

    Rick Ferguson
    Merritt, BC



    < All input received