A section of B.C.’s Election Act that restricts advertising is being challenged this morning in the Supreme Court of Canada. The B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association is challenging the law, arguing it restricts freedom of expression in this province, and that it should include an exception for third parties spending less than $500 on election advertising. Section 239 of B.C.’s Election Act says election advertising sponsors must register with the chief electoral officer. The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is an intervener in the case. Lawyer Laura Track said the association is concerned the law is too broad.
“If you want to wear a jacket pin or a T-shirt or put a poster up in your window, you’re required to register that communication with the government before you make that communication so the definition of election advertising is really broad.”
The advertising relates to any type of political issue and critics say it has a chilling effect on free speech.