Elections BC fined Keep the RCMP in Surrey (KTRIS) and new Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto for failing to include mandatory authorization statements in some of their campaign advertising.
The Local Elections Campaign Financing Act requires campaign ads to include the name of the financial agent, that it was authorized by the financial agent and a B.C. telephone number, email address or B.C. mailing address at which the financial agent may be contacted.
In a Nov. 22 letter to the registered third-party’s principle officer, Ivan Scott, Elections BC investigator Adam Barnes fined KTRIS $250, instead of a maximum $10,000 fine under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.
Elections BC received a complaint on Sept. 2 about flyers distributed by KTRIS that lacked the authorization statement. Scott told Elections BC that it spent $1,750 on the postcards and $1,774.40 on flyers.
“While KTRIS commissioned 2,000 post cards and 1,000 flyers, only a few hundred were distributed before the error was caught,” Barnes wrote. “The cards and flyers directly oppose the re-election of Doug McCallum for Mayor of Surrey.”
Barnes noted that the lack of authorization statement would not likely have misled a voter about the sponsor, Scott indicated that the omission was inadvertent and KTRIS had not previously been fined.
KTRIS-endorsed Brenda Locke defeated McCallum in the Oct. 15 mayoral election. McCallum was found not guilty of public mischief Monday in Surrey Provincial Court over a September 2021 confrontation with a KTRIS protester in a Save-On-Foods parking lot.
Meanwhile, Alto, who succeeded the retiring Lisa Helps, must pay a $150 fine.
A member of her campaign team reported to Elections BC that the campaign published ads without authorization statements in two editions of the Victoria News and partial authorization statements in the Burnside Gorge Community Association and the James Bay Beacon newsletters.
Invoices showed the Alto campaign spent $493.35 total on the non-compliant ads.
Alto’s campaign claimed it was an error of omission and Barnes concluded it would not likely have misled voters. But, he wrote: “You have participated in five local government elections as a candidate, and should be aware of the election advertising requirements.”