Mary McGregor Submission, May 2015
My name is Mary McGregor, and I live in the Sunshine Valley next to Merritt. I want to thank the Commission for all your hard work. I agree with the recommendations foe boundary changes for Fraser-Nicola as included in the Preliminary Report.
After reviewing your recommendations for the Cariboo-Thompson Region, I believe the Commission has done an excellent job maintaining your independence and drawing a map that reflects the necessary changes. You have redrawn the electoral map that reflects what a majority of the people from Fraser-Nicola had called for during the initial round of hearings before Christmas.
When I first moved to the Merritt area, Hope and its surrounding communities were an integral part of Yale-Lillooet. Political interference from the Legislative Assembly in 2008 forced the Commissioners to remove Hope and the Fraser Canyon out of our riding. There was no sound logic or rationale why that was done. All of Hope’s links were with other small, rural communities such as Lytton, Merritt, Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Lillooet, and Logan Lake. These small towns all shared the same geographic links and a common history during the Gold Rush and the construction of roads and railroads into the Interior. They also possess a similar economy (such as forestry, mining, tourism, transportation, etc.), and a rural way of life. Also, the former Yale-Lillooet provincial riding had included the entire N’laka pamux Nation within its boundaries commencing in 1871. The unfortunate changes in the Hope area in 2008 hurt “effective representation” for the N’laka pamux people.
The new map in your Preliminary Report puts Hope, Yale, Spuzzum, Boston Bar and Boothroyd back where they belong --with other rural communities in the Cariboo-Thompson Region. In accordance with your mandate, these small Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal towns and villages all share a common community interest. I know folks from the Hope area routinely go shopping for goods and services in Chilliwack and also access the regional hospital there; unfortunately, these activities do not constitute a “community of interest”. People from Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Lillooet, Logan Lake, Merritt and the Sunshine Valley where I live also go shopping in Kamloops and access the regional hospital there; but we have never been a part of the Kamloops ridings. Business links are strictly a driven by “supply-and-demand” issues, by necessity and by market forces.
The differences between Chilliwack and Hope are many: Chilliwack is urban, Hope is rural; Chilliwack is booming with growth, Hope and the Fraser Canyon’s population base is decreasing rapidly; and Chilliwack’s economy is based in agriculture and housing construction, while Hope and area depend on the resource economy and tourism. As stated in your Preliminary Report, in the interest of “effective representation”, it does make good sense that Hope is grouped with other communities with similar economic factors. Further, I don’t necessarily agree with the thought of losing Princeton, but bringing Hope back into Fraser-Nicola allows you to fix Boundary—Similkameen, which is under-populated.
In closing, I accept your report in full as you have done an excellent job re-drawing the boundaries. The one small change I would recommend that does not involve shifting any boundaries is to change the name back to Yale-Lillooet for this historic constituency. Thank you.