New Democrats challenge Liberals to end partisan advertising in first question period of 2013

VICTORIA – During the first question period in almost nine months, B.C.’s New Democrats challenged the premier to end the use of taxpayer dollars on partisan pre-election advertising.

New Democrat leader Adrian Dix released a leaked B.C. Liberal caucus document that shows the government’s taxpayer-funded ad campaign is set to ramp up following the release of the budget next week, with an additional $4.1 million set aside to sell the budget to British Columbians. Dix said the documents show the total 'jobs plan' ad spending to be at least $16.6 million, far higher than the $15 million to which the Liberals have previously admitted.

Dix pointed out that the briefing document says one of the purposes of the ad campaign is to “decrease the credibility gap the government had,” an admission by the Liberals that the real purpose of their advertising blitz is to rescue their political fortunes.

Dix also reaffirmed the New Democrats' commitment to make taxpayer-funded partisan advertising illegal if they form government, especially during the four-month period leading up to an election. This was a practice that former Premier Campbell observed, but has been abandoned under the leadership of Premier Clark..

Along with Dix, New Democrat MLAs Carole James, Jenny Kwan and Mike Farnworth challenged the Liberal government to end the inappropriate use of taxpayers' money in the lead-up to the May 2013 election. They pointed out the money would be better spent on real services for British Columbians like seniors care, education and skills training.

Later in question period, New Democrat finance critic Bruce Ralston and house leader John Horgan challenged the Liberal government's throne speech fantasy of a revenue windfall from liquid natural gas over the next 30 years. Ralston pointed out the Liberals' revenue projections over just the past year left a $1.1 billion hole in the budget over three years. The Liberals' abysmal record of inaccurately forecasting natural gas revenues clearly shows their fantasy fund lacks any credibility.

The Liberals have shown they’re not up to the challenges facing British Columbians. Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats are offering change for the better, one practical step at a time.