bc election act
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."
Trade associations -- Many are known to donate generously to political parties, particularly when they want to curry favour. In the U.S. it's called "dark money," a way to spend big bucks on politics and remain relatively anonymous. It doesn't have the same bad rap in B.C. yet, but it's problematic.
If the transit referendum was held at the same time as the municipal election, there is a real risk that people exercising their freedom of speech on one would be subject to severe penalties under the other. This is because the B.C. government has imposed draconian penalties (a year in jail, $10,000 fines) for those they define as "election advertising sponsors" in provincial election law.
Party leaders will say all the right things to deny the obvious: we're campaigning for the votes of all British Columbians, we don't take any vote for granted, or we're running to win in all 85 ridings. But after all that voter ID, statistical analysis and polling, strategists know very well that there's likely less than 250,000 voters living in less than half of B.C.'s 85 ridings who will actually count on May 14. And the two main parties will fish where the fish are.
When the B.C. Court of Appeal struck down the government's not-so-subtle attempt to stifle citizens with its ill-advised "gag" law this month, it was only a partial victory. Regrettably, the court never had the chance to consider the multitude of contradictions and loopholes that exist in the B.C. Election Act, most of which are the result of shoddy legislative maintenance