I suggest a study is required on global technology change and its societal impact on the process used to determine electoral boundaries and effective representation. The rate of technology change has been very rapid since the turn of the century. There are two issues I want to bring to your attention.
First: I believe recent increases in the capabilities of internet based ‘social media services’ can be used to dramatically improve the process of ‘effective representation’. An education program for elected local government officials and permanent community government staff can ensure equitable representation across all communities. It should be possible to use new technologies to get far better representation in Regional Districts and consolidate them to save money. The internet now provides the information rich technology to resolve the dichotomy of time and place with full non-verbal clues to make the interaction more ‘normal’.
Second: I realize commissioners consider ‘The availability of means of communication and transportation between various parts of British Columbia’, during their deliberations. It is the ‘transport’ aspect that I think needs more study in the context of global technology change and its increase in the process of globalization because of dramatic drops in the cost of ‘containerization’. Massive changes in trading patterns across the world have happened over the past 15 years. In Canada, middle class wages have flat-lined during this time because we have not increased the efficiency of our communities. British Columbia ranks among the bottom of provincial transport studies. Poor transport directly results in a poor trading capability. Electoral Boundaries Commissioners need to have the responsibility to determine how boundary adjustments can be used to improve transport and hence trade. For example including Bowen Island in the Powell River Sunshine Coast electoral district will do this. This island needs to be part of an initiative to upgrade and interconnect segments of HWY 101 to improve trade along the Sunshine Coast. Only looking at the ‘present’ is too constrictive. The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commissioners did this to the detriment of the residents of Powell River and Sunshine Coast areas.
May we continue to live in interesting times.
Tom Hobbs (Digital Veteran of ’56)
(address removed) Powell River,