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Island MP requests name change for riding, step towards reconciliation

North Island NDP MP Rachel Blaney is calling for a name change to her riding after no changes were made by the Boundary Commission.

Blaney’s riding is currently known as North Island-Powell River. The change being requested is a switch from Powell River to qathet.

Blaney says this change would make it so that the name is more reflective of the entire riding.

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“While Powell River is only one city, it is a large area, qathet is the name of the regional district, so it encompasses a much larger, more representative area,” said Blaney.

“qathet means working together and I really respect the Nation’s name and the presentation of that name.”

According to Blaney, the Tla’amin Nation asked her to make the name change request and Blaney is doing that in support of Komox, Homalco and Klashoose Nations.

“The name change is an acknowledgement of the First Peoples of this territory,” Blaney says.

“Powell River is named for the first superintendent for Indian Affairs in British Columbia, a man who brought in many colonial policies, including residential schools. Changing the riding’s name is a vital step towards reconciliation.”

K’ómoks elected chief councillor Ken Price says the First Nation is in full support of the proposed name change, adding the name would provide important recognition of the First Peoples in the region.

Hegus John Hackett of Tla’amin Nation adds it would be a small and tangible step towards reconciliation.

“Israel Wood Powell, for whom the city is named after, has caused deep suffering in our community, which continues to affect us to this day,” said Hackett.

“Tla’amin Nation appreciates MP Rachel Blaney’s ongoing support and reconciliatory effort her office shows for our community and our sister Nations through initiatives like this.”

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