Enbridge's ad spend on the Kitimat vote so far is more than three times what the company would be allowed to spend in an electoral district during a provincial election. During a provincial election or initiative vote, Elections BC restricts how much companies and other third-party advertisers can spend -- but no such rules apply to the April 12 plebiscite.
British Columbians, both voters and politicians, who care about democracy need to start talking about electoral reform again. A minority of voters elected a B.C. Liberal majority government. Here's one way Legislature can one day be reflective of the people you see on the streets of every city, town and village across the province.
While the effect of Election BC's ad on next week's election remains debatable, one thing's clear. Its message echoes NDP and/or Green Party rhetoric, and therefore, counters the candidacy of many BC Liberal and/or Conservative candidates, particularly in ridings outside Vancouver. Anyone interested in democracy should be concerned about that.
Faulty advertising rules caused extensive problems for small spenders such as non-profit and charity groups during the 2009 B.C. election. The rules led to widespread confusion, wasted resources, anxiety and, most dangerously, self-censorship among organizations that spent little or nothing on election advertising. The government should have (and could have) fixed this situation when it was amending the law this spring, but chose not to.
I've written much about the air of entitlement this government has come to display, an attitude which sets an example from the top of government for all the levels below. How can one expect any government executive or bureacrat to display restraint when those in charge demonstrate a proclivity for excess? The truth is the average person is British Columbia just doesn't even listen to any of this bizarre hypocrisy anymore. The average person in this province is still struggling to make ends meet. Whether or not it's the most basic of needs such as food and shelter, or meeting mortgage and car payments, most people in this province are far removed from the reality of luxurious "vacations" oops I mean, conferences in Nairobi.