The British Columbia New Democrats are proposing new rules for government advertising.
Dix said if elected in the general election scheduled for May, the NDP would bring in legislation in the first session to prohibit government ads showing the name, voice or image of the premier or cabinet members. Modelled after what’s already in place in Ontario, the legislation would require the independent office of the auditor general to review and approve all government advertising.
“I think people ask the fair and legitimate question: How can you guarantee that?” Dix said at a news conference outside on the seawall to the north of Science World. “Here’s how we guarantee it: We intend to introduce legislation to ensure that every ad run by government — meaning television, radio, print, online — is reviewed by the auditor general to make sure it meets that standard of government advertising.” Dix said legislation would also prohibit all non-essential government advertising four months before a scheduled general election. “These rules …. would satisfy and demonstrate our seriousness in banning partisan advertising with public funds,” he said.
We noted the Ontario example in November. In the realm of democratic reform and accountability (and perhaps fiscal restraint), this strikes me as an easy proposal for an opposition party to make—is there really any argument to be made against submitting government advertising to these kind of restrictions?—at least so long as it was willing to limit itself once in government.