Group files complaint with Elections B.C.

No Vote 2017 filed a complaint with Elections B.C. Monday, which has since responded to the group.

No Vote 2017, a group opposed to the proposed event centre, filed a complaint Monday with Elections B.C. against the City of Nanaimo for publishing correspondence it believed violates the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act. But according to the election authority, the municipality is in the clear.

The City of Nanaimo attached several pieces of correspondence to its council agenda, including from Ron Toigo, owner of the Vancouver Giants, who expressed the ownership’s “sincere hope” residents vote in favour of the proposed new event centre in the upcoming referendum.

Don Bonner, No Vote 2017 spokesman, said his group believes the city is in violation of the elections spending act regarding third-party advertising.

“We had received legal opinion that they may have breached the elections act and therefore not playing by the same rules that everybody else is playing by,” he said, as to the reason the group wanted to bring this issue to the attention of Elections B.C.

No Vote 2017 will also request that city council not receive the correspondence during a council meeting Monday.

Elections B.C. has responded to the complaint. Louise Sawdon, Elections B.C. manager of local elections campaign financing, said the correspondence on the city website is not election advertising. An interpretation on election advertising shows if it’s messaging without placement costs, it’s not election assent voting advertising, she said.