Walk softly and carry a small stick

To date, the provincial New Democrat caucus has yet to comment on the appointment of Liberal supporter Louise Burgart to the supposedly non-partisan electoral boundary commission. But, according to our operatives, there's some who think the party should follow the example set by Moe Sihota back in 1987, when the Socreds put Judge Thomas Fisher - then Premier Bill Vander Zalm's former personal lawyer - in charge of redrawing the province's political map. And what was that example you may wonder? Well, those looking for a sustained blast of fire and brimstone are likely to be somewhat disappointed. In the legislature, the pit bull twice questioned Premier Vander Zalm about his relationship with Mr. Fisher (on June 17 and 18). And Mr. Sihota also raised the issue with the judge during a electoral boundary commission hearing - albiet in a somewhat hesitant manner. The following is a complete transcript of the exchange between Messrs. Sihota and Fisher at that meeting, as preserved by British Columbia Archives.

THE WITNESS: Your honour, I attend this morning to, umm, to direct the thrust of my comments toward the problem of Esquimalt-Port Renfrew. I had the opportunity to be here yesterday and - and be part, of course, of watching what happened earlier on and, umm, I have some thoughts that I want to sort of direct to what I think could be called the problems of Esquimalt-Port Renfrew with respect to the population. Before I do that, I - I feel that it is important, that, umm, that - that I recognize that certain comments made in the legislature by myself and, umm, I appreciate the fact that that has placed certain thrust upon the activities of -

THE COMMISSIONER: Mr. Sihota, I am aware of those and I think it better that there not be any comment.

TE WITNESS: Well, your honour, that was my next line.

THE COMMISSIONER: That - that's a political matter and I'm not involved in the political arena.

THE WITNESS: Fine.

THE COMMISSIONER: This matter, you may not be aware, but it is under the Inquiries Act and that area is not within my mandate. I think it would be better for you and more appropriate for the public that we stay to the mandate.

THE WITNESS: Fine, your honour. I felt that I should at least raise the issue and I appreciate your comments and we will move on to the thrust of my submission, having reviewed the terms of reference of the - of the Commission, your honour.

THE COMMISSIONER: I can say, there is one thing, however, that notwithstanding all the time you spent, you apparently overlook the accuracy. It is Thomas K. Fisher.

THE WITNESS: I am sorry.

THE COMMISSIONER: Not Thomas J. Fisher.

THE WITNESS: That's a good point and I knew that and, umm, you are right, it appears on the front of the page...

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