Earlier, we quoted electoral boundary commissioner Louise Burgart as saying that Speaker of the Legislature Bill Barisoff appointed her to that position, in part, because she "could represent rural British Columbia." Malaspina University College political science professor Allan Warnke blasted that rationale on Public Eye Radio saying, "She has to have a perspective of the province as a whole - taking into account all population and regions. She is not to be an advocate." But the fact Mr. Barisoff wanted a rural representative on the commission shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who knows how to search Hansard.
Back when he was an Opposition member, Mr. Barisoff expressed dissatisfaction over the way rural constituencies were treated by the last boundaries commission which "chopped up" his riding - even going so far as to vote against its recommendations. Speaking in the legislature in June 1999, Mr. Barisoff grumbled, "We have to look at a different (electoral boundary) process that allows the rural people of British Columbia to be represented in a fair manner."
And, during the same speech, the then Okanagan-Boundary MLA also complained the borders of his riding were changed despite the fact 37 out of the 38 submissions to the commission from his constituency opposed any alteration. The only one in favour - according to Mr. Barisoff - was from Gary Gattrel "president of the Okanagan-Boundary NDP constituency (association) and the executive member of the NDP for the central interior of the Okanagan."