Vancouver – A non-partisan coalition, including FIPA, the BC Civil Liberties Association, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, has come together to warn British Columbians that it is not just big spenders who are at risk under the new BC Election Act.
The Election Act’s third party advertising restrictions have opened a nightmare of arbitrary enforcement, fines and possible jail sentences for individuals and small community groups who comment on public interest issues. The Election Act was passed last May by the BC legislature and its constitutional validity is currently being challenged in BC Supreme Court.
“The Act restricts ‘election advertising’, but the definition is so vague that if you put out anything even remotely related to what parties or candidates are saying you could be facing penalties,” said Vincent Gogolek, Policy Director of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.
“Unlike the federal election law, there is no minimum amount, so even a few dollars of photocopying for neighbourhood flyers or putting information on a website could require you to register with Elections BC,” said Gogolek. “This is an outrageous violation of freedom of expression.”
Vincent Gogolek, FIPA: 604-739-9788
Maureen Bader, Canadian Taxpayers Federation: 604-608-6770
Micheal Vonn, BCCLA: 604-630-975