FIN IN THE NEWS: What's in a name? A lot!

MP pitches name change to his riding

New Westminster News Leader By Andrew Fleming - New Westminster News Leader Published: March 11, 2010 1:00 PM Updated: March 11, 2010 1:31 PM

Fin Donnelly, the Member of Parliament for New Westminster–Coquitlam, wants people to remember his riding also includes a good chunk of Port Moody as well.

The neophyte NDP MP introduced his first Private Member's Bill on Thursday (March 11) with hopes of getting "Port Moody" tacked on to the end of his constituency's official name.

"When I was campaigning in the byelection, people from Port Moody kept coming up to me and saying 'we're a legitimate part of your riding and we want to be recognized in the title.' I think that makes sense," said Donnelly over the phone from Ottawa.

It isn't the first time the issue has come up in Ottawa; former MP for the riding Dawn Black tried to do the same thing back in 2006 and 2009 to no avail.

Elections Canada occasionally redistributes electoral boundaries based on Census data. In 2006, Black became the first elected MP for the newly-minted New Westminster-Coquitlam riding after local electoral boundaries were redistributed in 2004. New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam (currently represented by Conservative MP James Moore) became the new ridings and only one got to keep Port Moody in its name. Only about 15 per cent of constituents in the New Westminster-Coquitlam live in Port Moody.

A Private Member's Bill suggesting a name change was Black's first order of business in 2006 but it never reached the House before the Tories called an election in 2008. A second bill submitted in February 2009 didn't reach a vote before Black left federal politics the following month.

For the record, the opposition MP who would have to share the name has said it was a good idea.

"For the sake of voter and constituent clarity, the riding name should always have included the city of Port Moody," said Moore last year.

"I can understand it could be costly if it is a mid-term decision, but here I am at the beginning of my term and we hardly have any of our stationary even ordered, so if it would be great if this could be a speedy decision and approved because it wouldn't cost the government a thing," said Donnelly.

While he is hoping for a quick decision from his colleagues in the House of Commons, he realizes this isn't how things generally happen in Ottawa.

"There's a lottery system for private member bills so you never know. It could happen tomorrow or it could take years, but I am hoping to get support from all members of all parties in the House on this."