Please accept this as my submission to the Elections Boundary Commission in regards to their current review of election boundaries and number of MLAs within the Province.
Over the past several years, the Government and the departments within have made great advances in serving the citizens of British Columbia. Leveraging technology, today individuals have more access to Government services and methods of addressing issues with their relationship to those services than ever before. I am very pleased and proud of the access we have as citizens.
The Commission however, has a fixed threshold of citizens per MLA and alters boundaries to fit within this representation model. It is with this that I am concerned.
The nature of MLA representation has changed. Leveraging technology and the ease of access to government services have lessen the requirement for access to our elected officials to deal with these matters. Further, government investment/cost in providing a direct interface for the people to government services and departments have also increase over the past several years. Increasing the overall number of MLAs will be accompanied with increased costs to the taxpayer. This coupled with the aforementioned enhancements allowing better access, may be redundant.
As a taxpayer, I am aware of the efforts that governments at all levels are under to ensure that each dollar collected can be directed linked to an advantage to the public. I am not sure that our current modeling of population per MLA reflects either the changing nature of access to representation or the cost realities. There are a number of Provinces that have a larger ratio than we are currently do, and those with a lower ratio that our current model, have other fiscal issues to attend to.
I understand that the commission reviews this matter within some limitations, such as the ration of population to MLA as being fixed. I however, also know the commission can take liberties in providing opinion and feedback.
Simply, access to government has never been better and continues to grow as more investment is spent on toward this. The nature of the MLA has changed because of this and will continue to change with these advancements. The current representation model should be increased and a moratorium on boundary changes employed. A new threshold review should be completed taking into account technology, the nature of government services utilized by the people, and the changing demographics of the population and their relationship with government.
Finally, the cost associated with additional MLA representatives while spending on access to government services may be ill-timed because of the current economics and appetite of the taxpayer.