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Why did the Assembly expand to 160 members?
Members of the Citizens' Assembly come from all regions of the province and all walks of life. They bring a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds to the Assembly. They are generally representative of the people of B.C. However, Assembly membership, as it stood with 158 members, did not fairly represent our traditional Aboriginal communities. This perspective was glaringly absent.
The Citizens' Assembly is a bold and important venture in citizen participation and must be seen as credible, fair and working in good faith. Clear representation of our traditional Aboriginal communities is fundamental to this credibility. British Columbians are engaged in building new partnerships with our Aboriginal communities and we felt they required a clear presense in the Assembly. This growing spirit of goodwill and inclusiveness needed to be reflected in the Assembly's composition. This is an issue of credibility and good faith.
So, on December 10th, Assembly chair, Dr. Jack Blaney, requested and received approval from the Provincial Cabinet to proceed with the selection of two additional members, bringing the Assembly to 160.
In selecting two Aboriginal British Columbians, we have carefully maintained the integrity of the original random selection process by using the original list of randomly selected British Columbians in our search for two Aboriginal members. Only people who were on that list of randomly selected citizens, who attended selection meetings, who declared they were interested and eligible to serve, and who allowed their names to stand for selection were contacted and invited to submit their names once again, if they were Aboriginal.
All those who responded, confirming they were Aboriginal and willing to serve were entered in the draw. Their names were all place in a "hat" and names of one man and one woman were drawn on Monday, December 22nd.