It’s hard enough to tell your Nanaimo-Alberni from your Nanaimo-Cowichan, and now the federal electoral boundary commission wants to change a bunch of names on the Island.
Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP Randall Garrison is a man who feels pity for the electors. He wants to help.
His riding is slated to become Saanich-Juan de Fuca, and he thinks that’s too confusing because there is a provincial riding called Juan de Fuca. His solution is to change the name to Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.
It’s certainly descriptive, as he says, but will it really end the confusion? After all, there will still be a federal riding called Saanich-Gulf Islands, and provincial ones called Saanich North and the Islands, Saanich South and Esquimalt-Royal Roads. Won’t all those Saaniches and Esquimalts be just as problematic as a surfeit of Juan de Fucas?
Tacking together all those hyphenated names makes it unwieldy for voters who already struggle to remember which riding they are in. After a while, they start to look like high-priced law firms: Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, Vancouver Island North-Comox-Powell River, Kamloops-Thompson and Highland Valleys.
When those concatenations exist beside the provincial ones, and then we change them every few years, voters are bound to get their hyphens mixed up. There’s already a Nanaimo-Cowichan federally and a Nanaimo-North Cowichan provincially. The federal one is going away, but then there will be Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
Before we trip over too many more hyphens, let’s put a stop to this excess verbiage. We need shorter names, not longer ones.
Oh, the bliss of having a riding name as succinct as the shortest ever used in B.C.: Yale. Alas, it passed out of existence in 1952.
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