B.C. Liberals spending $11 million on copycat Bollywood awards show

VANCOUVER – While the B.C. Liberal government defends spending another $11 million trying to win votes ahead of an election, New Democrats are challenging the government to come clean on the timing of the Times of India Film Awards.

“The Liberals are trying to buy votes with a series of colourful photo ops right before the election,” charged New Democrat arts and culture critic Spencer Chandra Herbert. “They invented a whole new Bollywood awards show trademarked and sponsored solely by the B.C. government so they could hold this event in April.”

Chandra Herbert said the B.C. government put more focus on an event they could bring to B.C. before the election instead of the prestigious International Indian Film Academy Awards, or IIFAs, which would have been held in the summer – after the election. The government’s bid for the IIFAs failed.

“The B.C. Liberals have already invested $15 million of taxpayers’ dollars in feel-good partisan advertising. How much of the public’s money do the Liberals need to spend on their re-election attempt, and when will this spending stop?”

While the Liberal government has insisted that the event was brought to B.C. to encourage trade and outreach efforts to a fast-growing economy, their decision to host the new Times of India Film Awards suggests that economic benefits to British Columbians are a second priority behind a bid for votes.

“I hope the Times of India Film Awards are a success, and B.C. will be proud to host this exciting event. But as a taxpayer, I am ashamed at the partisan manner in which this government has represented us on an international stage. This is little more than a bid for votes,” said Burnaby Edmonds MLA Raj Chouhan.

Chouhan said the B.C. Liberal government is out of ideas and is not up to the challenges facing B.C. today. Trying to woo voters with a publicly funded ad campaigns and events, rather than running on their record, is inexcusable.

B.C.’s New Democrats would bring in legislation to stop government spending on partisan ads, and commit to earning back public trust with new and better priorities.