A former electoral boundary commissioner is calling for the removal of a Liberal supporter who was recently appointed to do the same supposedly non-partisan job. In an exclusive interview, Katherine Hough, an Anglican priest, also said it was "inappropriate" for Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Bill Barisoff to have made that appointment because he received campaign donations from the new commissioner's company. Ms. Hough, who noted Mr. Barisoff was upset when her 1999 boundary commission chopped up his riding, explained "the legislation calls for a non-partisan appointment to do that work. And (the Liberals) have discovered they have erred in that. So they need to take the high road, rescind the appointment and get someone who fits the criteria...Or, better yet, (Louise Burgart) should withdraw once she realizes that this is a non-partisan appointment."
Ms. Hough, who has worked as a provincial criminal prosecutor, found it surprising Ms. Burgart wasn't screened out of the boundary commissioner selection process. The reason: when Ms. Hough was approached about becoming a commissioner, she was specifically told "that the appointment for someone who had no affiliation with any political party. And that was one of the criteria they were looking for. And I was able to...assure them of that. Whereas, it appears those were not questions that were addressed to her."
Ms. Hough added it was important for Ms. Burgart to step down to avoid any possibility or perceived possibility of gerrymandering - manipulating riding boundaries to favour one party over another. And Ms. Hough worried the appointment of Liberal campaigner to the commission would set a precedent for future partisan appointments. "You would get larger vehicles being driven through that particular hole until the term non-partisan becomes meaningless," she said.