A proud graduate of the Harriet Miers school of letter writing

Today, the provincial attorney general's ministry announced the three members of the electoral boundaries commission - whose recommendations will guide government in redrawing British Columbia's constituencies. Among those appointments was one from Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Bill Barisoff: Apex Mountain Resort owner/director Louise Burgart. In an interview with your humble organ, University of Victoria political science professor Norman Ruff said the speaker's appointment is supposed to be someone who "represents ordinary British Columbians without any partisan connections." But it appears Ms. Burgart, whose resort is located in Mr. Barisoff's riding, does have such connections.

A little digging has revealed that, the day before British Columbians went to the polls, she had a fawning letter published in the Prince George Citizen praising the work of the Campbell administration. And a search of Elections British Columbia records reveals Apex Mountain Resort (1997) Ltd. donated $1,400 to the Liberals in 1998 and $1,500 in 2004. In an interview, Ms. Burgart said she wasn't aware of those donations. And, when asked how she could re-assure British Columbians she would remain non-partisan, the former school principal said "I believe that is my job to do that. And certainly my work record is one of listening. I do know (New Democrat leader) Carole James personally. I knew her well when she was the chair of the B.C. School Trustees Association at the time I was president of the superintendents association. And I would say we share many of the same concerns."

Ms. Burgart, who has known Mr. Barisoff since last year, also added, "I think that, given whatever happens in British Columbia, I would support whatever party was in power that is doing the best for British Columbia - and certainly rural British Columbia. And, at this time in British Columbia...we have moved forward" since the 2001 election. Under legislation, Ms. Burgart's appointment would have been "after consultation with the Premier and the Leader of the Official Opposition."

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Liberals on right track

I am happy to live in the best country on earth, to live in a province that has finally gotten its credit rating back, to live in a province that can now afford to put money back into social programs, health and education because it has the money to do so. I'm happy to live in a province that can pay for what it spends.

When I was student at university, I worked two and sometimes three jobs. I had student loans at a much-reduced borrowing rate and I dreamed about the day when I would be debt free. Oh, how I worried and hated that feeling.

I got a job, got married, bought a car, had kids, bought a house, raised kids, had a few holidays over the years, went back to university, supported kids as they went off to university and again I dreamed of being debt-free. It is a great feeling to be debt-free and to be able to dream.

In very simple terms, it really is not so different from the situation the province is in today.

The Gordon Campbell government has learned a lot in its few, short years. It has made some policy changes that have positively affected the economy of B.C.

In order to get there, decisions were not always easy; there has been some short-term pain. The people of B.C. can be optimistic and their dreams of a better life can be realized, because this government is working toward a debt-free province. It is then we will really be able to reap the gains.

Louise Burgart

Fort St. James

2 Comments

The BC Liberals designed a deficit when there wasn't one in place. The previous government had two back to back surpluses and had not got in trouble with the ILO, something this new gang has been a number of times for poor labour practices.

The tired rhetoric about making tough choices shows some folks have blinders on.

What happedn under this new bunch. Cost of most services went up. Tuition basically doubles in four years, they even tried to take away the seniors bus passes. The fair Pharmicaire took away the maximum cost for drugs for seniors. It's now rate based It's called screw most everyone.
Old Folks now pay for getting their eyes checked.
The list is long. But no one is more blind than one who doesn't see reality around them.

And of course break lots of contracts, try to sell a highway, close schools, hospitals, court houses and then say. Fire tons of medical staff, tell everyone they don't get a riase for a few more years, rent out a railway that is making money and make sure the lease is almost 1,000 years. Hey we have a surplus. But we arn't about to give much of it to you. The Olympics are coming so we have to build a few roads. Get real. so we have a slightly lower tax rate but do we really have more money in our pocket. Can we get into a hospital without long waits.

The work of a boundary commission requires a fair bit of knowledge of geography, census of population data, and the like. I wonder if Louise Burgart can claim that expertise?

Also, her letter to the Prince George Citizen gives a Fort St James address and yet she apparently lives in the southern Okanagan, in Barisoff's riding, and is an owner of Apex Mountain resort in Penticton. So I would be curious to know about the Fort St James address.

Possibly, if Carol James knew Burghart though the BCSTA she assumed that Burghart was the kind of person we all think of when we think of the more positive aspects of local government, a person who puts practicality before partisanship and has a general and genuine concern for sound growth and development and keeping one's community healthy and attractive. If that were the real Burghart, who would object to having her on the electoral boundaries commission, provided she has an acceptable level of knowledge on the geography/demographics front.

But her decision to sign a perfectly silly "best place on earth" propaganda letter tends to cast doubt on the idea that Burghart really fits that mold of the ideal local politician.

BTW, speaking of the idiotic "best place on earth" propaganda blipverts that ran last year at this time, can anyone imagine the State of Washington, or the Province of Alberta, running such ludicrous commercials in their own jurisdiction?

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