BC's provincial government recently released a "White Paper on Local Government Election Reform" and invited public comments about draft changes to the campaign finance laws governing local/municipal elections. The most significant change is a proposal to regulate election advertising by "third parties" (anyone other than candidates or political parties). The draft legislation is modelled on highly controversial and problematic third party advertising rules currently in place for provincial elections. It also fails to deal with the most important aspect of campaign finance reform — donations to, and spending by, candidates and parties. This submission was developed by 13 social justice and environmental NGOs who are deeply concerned that instead of levelling the electoral playing field — the rationale accepted by the Supreme Court of Canada as the only legitimate justification for limiting the speech rights of third parties — these changes will actually give even greater advantage to those with the deepest pockets.
For more on the provincial third party advertising rules, see Election Chill Effect: The Impact of BC's New Third-Party Advertising Rules on Social Movement Groups.