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General · 23rd January 2013
Claire Trevena
New Democrats would end taxpayer-funded partisan ads, says Trevena

While the B.C. Liberals continue to waste $15 million of taxpayers' money on partisan political advertisements, the New Democrats have committed to end the practice so that valuable tax dollars can go towards real public priorities in communities like Campbell River.

New Democrat leader Adrian Dix announced Wednesday that a New Democrat government would pass legislation that would give British Columbia’s Auditor General statutory responsibility to review and approve all government advertising and prohibit advertising whose central purpose is to promote the governing party in a partisan manner.

“The Liberals’ ongoing $15 million advertising blitz is nothing but a blatant attempt to promote the interests of the governing party, conducted at the expense of each and every taxpaying British Columbian,” said North Island New Democrat MLA Claire Trevena.

“That $15 million could have gone a long way to improving services in the community. There are students and families who would benefit immensely from additional special needs teachers as well as countless seniors who are in need of long-term care beds."

Whether improving the availability of services to people with disabilities by adding spaces to Community Living B.C., or providing seniors with much-needed stability by increasing homecare services, the investment of $15 million in to the communities of B.C. could have made a huge difference in the lives of British Columbians.

The proposed legislation would ensure taxpayer dollars are no longer misused for political gain. Under the new advertising approval process, potential government ads – whether on television, radio, print, or online - would have to meet certain standards set out in statute, and in particular, not promote the governing party in a partisan manner.

“For the government to tell us we need to tighten our belts and suffer the consequences of service cutbacks while they waste millions on primetime advertising is simply unacceptable and clearly shows a government that’s out of ideas and not up to the challenges facing British Columbia,” said Bruce Ralston, B.C. New Democrat finance critic. Ralston said New Democrats will introduce legislation in the coming spring legislative session.

A New Democrat government would stop spending taxpayer money on partisan advertising and start spending it where it counts – in communities and on improved services for British Columbians.