Be sure to register that cardboard sign

The B.C. Court of Appeal has backed provincial legislation which states that groups or individuals must register with Elections BC

The B.C. Court of Appeal has backed provincial legislation which states that groups or individuals must register with Elections BC if they plan to say or distribute anything that might be considered election advertising during an election period.

The court’s decision goes against the recommendations of the chief electoral officer, who said in both 2010 and 2014 that there was no problem in not registering those who spend a small amount in placing advertising during an election, say $500 or $1,000.

While there is a need for some spending limits during campaigns, particularly by parties and candidates, it is highly unlikely the spending of $1,000 by either an individual or group will sway the outcome of an election in a given riding. And if it does, it means that message resonated with a large number of voters.

Vincent Gogolek of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association says the court decision is an assault on freedom of expression. His organization launched the court challenge to try and overthrow the requirement to register with Elections BC, on constitutional grounds.

The maximum penalty for not registering is a $10,000 fine and a year in jail.

The law says it applies to “an advertising message that takes a position on an issue with which a registered political party or candidate is associated.” That could apply to a hand-written sign in the back of someone’s pickup.

This law is far too restrictive, and it needs to be repealed.

– Langley Times