Keep political promotion out of Family Day ads, say New Democrats

VICTORIA – New Democrats are challenging the B.C. Liberals to let British Columbians enjoy the province's first Family Day without using the new holiday as another excuse to promote their own partisan interests.

“Family day should be about bringing communities and families together, not providing an opportunity for the Liberals to spend our scarce tax dollars on self-promotion,” said Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James.

With the first-ever Family Day coming up on Feb. 11, James questioned whether British Columbians will be seeing ads next week featuring the premier and cabinet ministers promoting the new provincial holiday.

“We don’t want to see the Liberals using this holiday as another excuse to misspend taxpayer dollars to further their own interests,” said James.

A new proposal last week by New Democrat leader Adrian Dix would make it illegal for the premier or cabinet ministers to appear in ads running in the province. B.C.'s Auditor General would review all government advertising to ensure taxpayers' money isn't being wasted on partisan political advertising.

James pointed out that the Liberals have wasted nearly $30 million of public money on self-promoting parties and ads. In addition to misusing at least $15 million on a partisan pre-election ad campaign, the Liberal government is also spending $11 million on a copycat Bollywood awards show, timed to arrive in B.C. just weeks before the election, and $1.5 million on a party planner for Family Day events.

“In an attempt to gain popularity before the election, the Liberals continue to put the needs of their party ahead of B.C. communities by spending millions of valuable taxpayer dollars on flagrant self-promotion. It is particularly outrageous given the very challenging budget situation facing the B.C. Liberal government,” said James.

British Columbians deserve better. Adrian Dix and B.C.'s New Democrats are offering change for the better, one practical step at a time.