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CBC balked at running ads promoting BC budget

The CBC declined to run the British Columbia government's budget ads during its news programs, labeling them "advocacy advertisements."

During question period March 12 the NDP released an email written by Mike Darley, CBC's national senior manager for advertising standards.

"There is a difference between informing citizens of a budget that has been implemented, and selling them on a budget plan," wrote Darley, noting the budget legislation would not pass before the May 14 election.

"It could therefore be argued that promoting the budget plan to the public now, is an attempt to convince them that the budget is worth implementing," he said. "Advocacy advertisements are subject to restrictions to ensure the integrity of CBC programs and their environment. In this case, we have restricting the ads from News and from programs dealing with BC politics."

The CBC decision reinforces the Opposition's criticism of the government's advertising campaign, said NDP house leader John Horgan.

"What we were trying to do was establish in the public mind it's not just the Opposition talking about this, there (are) also people in the advertising business that are recognizing that quite possibly this is all about the Liberals and not about the best interests of the people of British Columbia," he said.

Finance minister and government house leader Mike de Jong responded to Horgan's question. "One is always extremely hesitant to challenge the authority of the CBC," he said. "That pretty much guarantees this exchange won't be on television tonight, I suspect."

The ads give families a chance to learn about programs that are available to them, he said.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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