A new study has found that BC’s third party advertising rules caused extensive problems for “small spenders” such as non-profits and charities during the 2009 provincial election. The rules – brought in through the controversial Bill 42 in 2008 – led to widespread confusion, wasted resources, anxiety and self-censorship among organizations that spent little or nothing at all on election advertising.
The study was released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, BC’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Association and the BC Civil Liberties Association.
“When the provincial government introduced these new rules, its rationale was to limit election advertising by ‘big spenders’,” said Shannon Daub, lead author of the study. “But major flaws in the legislation mean that in practice, the rules extensively regulated small spenders and cast a chill on the democratic process.”
The study examined the experiences of 60 charities, non-profits, coalitions, labour unions and citizens’ groups – most of which have annual budgets under $500,000.
MORE ON THE STUDY: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/updates/sshhh-its-election