October 20, 2011 •
Court Upholds Ruling Allowing Pre-Campaign Election Spending in British Columbia
A court in British Columbia has ruled the province cannot restrict election spending in the 60 days leading up to an official election call.
In British Columbia Teachers’ Federation v. British Columbia (Attorney General), the British Columbia Court of Appeal panel upheld a lower court ruling finding portions of Election Act sections 235.1 and 228 are unconstitutional, and are of no force and effect insofar as they relate to the pre-campaign period as defined in the Act. Therefore, the court affirmed the British Columbia Attorney General cannot restrict election spending in the pre-campaign period 60 days before the election period begins.
Election advertising preceding a 28-day campaign period is considered a “pre-campaign” period. In the decision Justice Catherine Anne Ryan wrote, “[R]estricting third-party advertising during the pre-campaign period would unjustifiably interfere with third parties’ issue advocacy, lobbying activity, and other advertising endeavours unrelated to the election.”
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