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NEWS RELEASE · 12th March 2013
Question Period New Democrats say Liberals should stop wasting taxpayer money on pre-election ads

New Democrats challenged the Liberal government to cancel its pre-election ad campaign and divert the $17 million budget to the real priorities of British Columbians like literacy services.

In question period Tuesday, the New Democrats confirmed the Liberal government intends to carry its pre-election ad campaign right up until the official election campaign begins April 16.

New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix, who last month proposed legislation to restrict government advertising in the run-up to an election and to give the independent auditor general the ability to determine if government advertising is in the public interest, said the Liberals are simply showing their priorities are misplaced.

“The government has a choice,” said Dix in question period. “It can keep running the ads, or it can find a million dollars to support literacy programs across British Columbia.”

New Democrat house leader John Horgan revealed that CBC has refused to run the government advertising during news programming, with the public broadcaster saying they considered the ads to be “advocacy advertisements.”

Also in Question Period Tuesday:

- New Democrat forests critic Norm Macdonald and MLA Maurine Karagianis continued to ask questions about the land procurement deal at the heart of the Wood Innovation and Design Centre. Macdonald and Karagianis pointed to documents showing that the Northern Development Initiatives Trust had a requirement that the loan to Commonwealth Campus – which it was using to buy property around the proposed centre – should only be issued after the Treasury Board had approved capital funding for the project. But the loan was issued Nov. 24, 2009, well before capital funding had been approved.

- Cowichan Valley MLA Bill Routley asked why the government’s appointed trustee of the Cowichan Valley school district is threatening to close schools this May. The education minister fired the elected school board last year and the appointed trustee has put a list of 10 schools forward for possible closure, saying that the decision on which schools would close would be made May 15 – the day after the provincial election.

Text from Tuesday’s question period today is available at this link: