BC FIPA, today, submitted a letter to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development in the context of its consultation on local government election reform.
BC FIPA strongly opposes provisions on third party spending limits and believes the lack of a minimum spending threshold in the provisions makes them unconstitutional violations of freedom of expression protected under s. 2(b) of the Charter. BC FIPA is currently challenging similar provisions in the provincial Election Act.
BC FIPA also notes that the Local Government Elections Task Force suggested the establishment of a minimum spending threshold in its 2010 report.
Read the letter (pdf).
BC FIPA filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on January 28, 2013 challenging the legality of the provisions in the BC Election Act dealing with 3rd party advertisers.
BC FIPA submits that the restrictions on 3rd party election advertising and the registration requirements for 3rd party election advertisers in the BC Election Act are a an unjustified violation of the right to free expression guaranteed by section 2(b) of the Charter. BC FIPA seeks a change to the legislation so that anyone with expenditures below $500 are exempted from s. 239 of the Act.
Download the notice (pdf).
Notice of Civil Claim
No. 13 0335, Victoria Registry
January 28, 2013
Lawyer for BC FIPA: Sean Hern
BC FIPA filed an Intervener Factum on August 15, 2012 in the Reference concerning the constitutionality of amendments to provisions of in the Election Act, RSBC 1996, c. 106 regarding election advertising by third parties.
BC FIPA argues that there should be a minimum spending threshold to trigger provisions in the Act requiring third parties to register as election advertisers. BC FIPA submits that the absence of a minimum threshold is an unjustified violation of freedom of expression guaranteed under s. 2(b) of the Charter and that without a threshold the proposed amendments are not minimilly impairing and do not survive a section 1 analysis. As an example, the Canada Elections Act includes a minimum threshold of $500.
BC FIPA further argues that the burden is on the government to prove how requiring registration of election advertising sponsors spending less than $500 serves the purpose of the BC Act and the purpose of the provisions requiring registration.
Download the factum (pdf).
Factum of the Intervenor
Constitutional Question Act RSBC 1996, c. 68; Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; A Reference by the Lieutenant Governor in Council set out in Order in Council No. 296/12 dated May 16, 2012 concerning the constitutionality of amendments to provisions in the Election Act, RSBC 1996, c. 106 regarding election advertising by third parties
August 15, 2012
Lawyers for FIPA: Sean Hern and Alison Latmer