Niyazz via Getty Images
Unbeknownst to many, a gag was put on free expression across British Columbia. When the B.C. government called the byelections in the districts of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, public communication about many important issues suddenly became "election advertising."
No matter how well-intentioned the B.C. government's first round of electoral reforms may be, they are -- for the most part -- cosmetic in nature when contrasted against the public's very real loss of confidence in local democracy. Without meaningful electoral finance reform including election spending and contribution limits, candidacy for local government will -- by and large -- remain the purview of the affluent and well-connected.
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.
TORONTO - Ontario's New Democrats want to ban all political advertisements before elections and make leaders own up to negative ads if they choose to use them during the campaign."I'm seeing very clea...