Cranbrook judge appointed to electoral boundary review

British Columbia constituency review to take 18 months

Cranbrook’s Supreme Court judge has been named the chair of an important B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission panel.

Justice Thomas Melnick, who has been a Supreme Court justice in Cranbrook since 1990, will lead a committee that will recommend electoral boundaries in B.C. ahead of the 2017 provincial election.

After earning his bachelor of laws in Ontario in 1967 and being called to the bar in B.C. in 1968, Melnick began his legal career in Cranbrook the same year. First working for the firm of Graham and Company, he became a partner of Melnick, Carlgren, Erickson in 1970 and worked there until 1980, when he joined Steidl, Kambeitz, Melnick and Donald as a partner.

In 1985, he briefly moved to Vancouver and joined the firm Shrum, Liddle and Hebenton, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel the same year.

Two years later, he returned to the Kootenays as a county court judge, before he was appointed a Supreme Court justice in 1990.

Melnick has also held various leadership roles in legal organizations, including a role as president of the Kootenay Bar Association, chair of the Professional Standards Committee for the Law Society of B.C., a member of the National Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, and a guest lecturer for the University of British Columbia law school.

Melnick will be joined on the Electoral Boundaries Commission panel by Beverley Busson, former commissioner of the RCMP, and Dr. Keith Archer, B.C.’s chief electoral officer.

The panel will review amendments to the electoral boundaries commission act that were passed in the legislature. The changes require the commission to keep the same number of electoral districts in three northern and rural regions of B.C., but the panel can recommend the creation of up to 87 electoral districts in the province. There are currently 85 electoral districts.

Cranbrook lies in the Kootenay East riding, represented by B.C. Liberals MLA Bill Bennett. The riding covers Cranbrook, Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford.

Kimberley is in the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding, represented by NDP MLA Norm Macdonald. Invermere, Golden and Revelstoke are also in that riding.

Within the next 12 months, the panel will seek community input on its recommendations, before submitting a report to the Speaker of the House. A final report must be submitted within 18 months.

Members of the Electoral Boundaries Commission must include a judge or retired judge of the B.C. Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, alongside the chief electoral officer, and one other person recommended by the Speaker of the House in consultation with the Premier and the Leader of the Official Opposition.

This review of B.C.’s electoral boundaries comes less than a year after the review of the federal electoral boundaries was completed.

In August 2013, the federal Electoral Boundaries Commission released a report that moved the borders of the Kootenay Columbia riding to include Nelson, Kaslo and Salmo, represented by Conservative MP David Wilks.


Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

The rainbow flag flies beside the Canadian flag outside the University of the Fraser Valley’s Chilliwack campus on June 26, 2020. Monday, June 14, 2021 is Flag Day, and also June is Pride Month. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Most Read