The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal of what B.C. civil liberty groups have argued is an election gag law. The B.C. Election Act forces people to register before sponsoring political advertising during a provincial election — even if little or no money is spent. Though the appeal was rejected and the law was upheld, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) says the ruling is a partial win because it clarifies a law that has caused confusion and even self-censoring in the past. “The court has kind of reinterpreted what election advertising actually is in a way that I think will be helpful to individuals who want to speak out about the issues that matter to them during an election campaign,” said Laura Track, a lawyer with the BCCLA.
Specifically, the court found the act’s registration requirement does not apply to individuals doing things like wearing political T-shirts or displaying signs in windows — something Track says was previously unclear.
“This law has caused no end of confusion to both individuals and organizations,” Track said.