FIN IN THE NEWS: Working to represent everyone

MP wants Port Moody in name

from THE TRI-CITY NEWS Published: March 11, 2010 6:00 PM By Gary McKenna and Andrew Fleming

New Westminster-Coquitlam NDP MP Fin Donnelly represents people from Port Moody, too, and he wants his colleagues in the House of Commons to know it.

The rookie member of Parliament introduced his first private member’s bill in Ottawa on Thursday to add the missing municipality’s name to that of his riding. Changing the name to New Westminster-Coquitlam-Port Moody would highlight a distinct part of his constituency, he said.

“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,” Donnelly said over the phone from Ottawa.

“When I stand up in the House of Commons, I want everyone in the room to know who I’m representing,” he said, “and that includes the people of Port Moody.”

Currently, the southern portion of Port Moody, home to 12,000 registered voters, is included in New Westminster-Coquitlam. The riding was created in 2004 following redistribution of the local electoral boundaries.

“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.”

This is not the first time a Member of Parliament has tried to change the riding’s name. Former NDP MP Dawn Black put forward similar private member’s bills in 2006 and 2009, which appeared to garner some support on the other side of the House.

The city’s name is already included in the adjacent Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam riding represented by Conservative MP James Moore, who agreed with the proposal when Black put forward her bill. “For the sake of voter and constituent clarity, the riding name should always have included the city of Port Moody,” he said.

In 2004, New Westminster-Coquitlam-Burnaby was redistributed with Port Moody-Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, splitting the city of Port Moody into two new federal ridings: New Westminster-Coquitlam, which includes the south part of Port Moody; and PoMo-Westwood-PoCo, which includes north of the Burrard Inlet.