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."
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.
Fort St. James