Sunday, August 19, 2007

It’s all how you look at the numbers!

Prince George which is looking at losing one of its seats in the Legislature with redistribution is preparing to fight back. Mayor Colin Kinsley is using statistics to bolster his case that the electoral Boundaries Commission has it all wrong with their interpretation of the population of the Northern Interior city.

Kinsley prefers to use the BC stats numbers as opposed to the last Stats Canada figures, if the BC Stats numbers are used the Prince George population would be pegged at 77,343 up significantly from the Stats Canada numbers of 71,000.

Kinsley also points to such factors as a declining unemployment rate, housing shortages and housing starts as indications that Prince George’s population is on the upswing and that representations should remain as it is.

He examined the numbers in an article with the Prince George Citizen.

Faulty census data behind move to strip city of MLA?
(News) Saturday, 18 August 2007, 11:01 PST
by Prince George Citizen staff

Mayor Colin Kinsley feels the proposed changes by the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission that could see Prince George lose an MLA, may have been influenced by the last census, which he believes was not conducted properly by Statistics Canada.

Kinsley expressed his displeasure Thursday at the Fraser-Fort George Regional District board meeting.

StatsCan has Prince George's population at less than 71,000 as of 2006, which is slightly lower than in 2001. According to B.C. Stats, however, the local population is upwards of 77,343 persons, which is up from 2001.

Kinsley agrees with the latter, noting factors such as unemployment and vacancy rates, which are down, and housing starts and business licences, which are up.

"There's no rhyme nor reason. You don't lose population with those indicators, so we're questioning the results of the census," said Kinsley, who has appealed the national census results. "This is a rock hard reminder how important it is to participate in the census because you pay for it. We could lose representation out of this."

He believes geographic demographics should be considered, along with population, when it comes to government representation.

"They're ignoring those in my view. Particularly upsetting for me is that these are the very regions where we have challenges of having our voices heard. There's huge areas. You can't cover a four-block square area and visit all your constituencies. You look at the size of our ridings and what they (MLAs) have to do, it's absolutely mind-boggling," he said.

"This is where there the wealth is. Oil and gas, mining, hydroelectric generation, agriculture, forestry. This is huge up here. One of the catch phrases I use at regional district is that maybe the model needs to have - and I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but there's some fact to this - representation by population and contribution. If you look at the contribution that comes from these regions in terms of the provincial registry, it's got to have some clout."

Kinsley also questions the makeup of the commission, which did not include anyone from the Interior.

The board voted in favour of Kinsley's suggestion to write a letter of opposition to the commission.

He encourages the public to express concerns about the proposed electoral boundary changes at an input session Sept. 5 at the Coast Inn of the North.

He has also asked all members of the North Central Municipalities Association to voice their concerns to the commission.

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