Shouldn’t our MLAs have to live in the ridings they represent?

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
December 14, 2016 - 3:00pm

KAMLOOPS — All the candidates in the Kamloops-North Thompson riding so far have one thing in common — none of them lives there.

Dan Hines, Peter Kerek, Peter Milobar and Barb Nederpel live on the other side of the river, in Kamloops-South Thompson.

That’s OK… the rules don’t require MLAs to live in ridings they represent.

But maybe it’s time for a rule change. Voters can’t just go anywhere they want and vote. Why should candidates be able to go and run anywhere they want?

They’re supposed to be one of us. All four of the candidates have some connection to the Kamloops-North Thompson riding by having worked or lived there at one time, or politicked there, but is that good enough?

The North and South Thompson just aren’t the same, no matter how politicians might try to toss them into a blender and paint them as — for all intents and purposes — one big happy riding.

The theory behind not requiring candidates to live where they run is that some places may be so thinly populated that the talent pool just isn’t big enough to guarantee representation.

And that’s true in some tiny communities on a municipal level but the smallest riding in B.C. has more than 20,000 residents while the largest has more than 73,000. The Kamloops-South Thompson and Kamloops-North Thompson ridings each have 50,000 or so residents.

Kamloops-North Thompson is apparently so depleted of able Liberals that they’ve had to borrow candidates from Kamloops-South Thompson in the past five going on six elections.

The qualifications for being a politician are pretty rudimentary — some would say you need a pulse but not much else. There’s no requirement that you be smart or even have good sense.

So is it too much to ask that MLAs actually live in the place they profess to care so much about?