Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Gag me: Campaign protests election advertising rules

A new campaign is protesting the law that requires all individuals and groups to register before advertising during the election.

The group called Free to Speak is targeting the current election rules, saying the law is far too broad.

"This is a real stifling of speech," said Kevin Scott, director of the campaign.

The government has said the law's purpose was to target people who could potentially "buy" the election, but Scott disagrees.

Citizens should be able to communicate with their community about issues they feel are of concern without asking the provincial government’s permission to do so, he said.

People involved with electoral advertising who are not registered could be subject to fines up to $10,000 and one year in jail, Scott said.

According to Elections B.C., the current definition of election ads is wide enough to include most types of media, including the use of posters and leaflets produced for free.

This definition is much too broad, said Vincent Gogolek, director of policy and communications at the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association.

"Constitutionally we have a guaranteed freedom of expression," he told The Tyee.

"Requiring citizens or anybody to register as a condition, on the possibility of penalties including jail or large fines, is probably unconstitutional,” Gogolek said.

Free to Speak will be holding events promoting free speech throughout the election campaign, including a day of civil "obedience," where individuals or groups can register as third-party advertisers with the help of free legal assistance.

Morgan J. Modjeski is a reporter for The Hook.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus