No surprise — Liberals dislike NDP Dix ad-restriction idea
A private member’s bill from NDP leader Adrian Dix that would restrict government advertising is getting strong support from his party’s local candidates, but mixed reviews from their Liberal counterparts.
“I don’t know if it’s really necessary,” said Todd Stone, who is running for the Liberals in Kamloops-South Thompson.
The bill, which Dix introduced in the legislature earlier this week, calls for the province’s auditor general to review government ads to make sure they’re nonpartisan.
It would also ban “non-essential” government advertising in the four months prior to an election.
The NDP has criticized the Liberal government for a multi-million-dollar ad campaign it ran to promote its jobs plan, which included a series of prime-time TV spots featuring Premier Christy Clark.
Dix’s bill, based on similar legislation in place in Ontario, would block the government from using the name, voice or image of any MLA in ads, unless the advertisements are intended to run outside the province.
Stone said the issue isn’t whether the premier or other MLAs appear in government ads, but whether the ads are factual.
“I think the government has a responsibility and an obligation to let people know about its programs,” he said.
NDP candidate for Kamloops-South Thompson Tom Friedman said the use of Clark in the government’s ads is clearly partisan — and that’s a problem.
“I would say if the premier wasn’t in the ads, it certainly would help. If they’re presenting factual information about their jobs plan, that would be fine,” he said.
“I have no objection to that and I don’t think this private member’s bill is meant to stop that.”
Kathy Kendall, who is running for the NDP in Kamloops-North Thompson, said voters are turned off by government advertisements that look like campaign ads.
“There’s no money for legal aid, there’s no money to keep seniors in their homes, there’s no money for community living,” she said.
“But, there’s $16.6 million for ads that everyone recognizes are partisan and pushing the Liberal government right before the election.”
Terry Lake, Kamloops-North Thompson’s Liberal MLA, called the timing of Dix’s bill a “political ploy,” but said the idea might have some merit.
“We’re in the silly season now and this is part of that. It’s interesting that he didn’t come up with this sooner,” Lake said.
“But, I think once the election’s over and a new administration takes government it’s something that will have some consideration at least.”