BC Health Coalition launches viral video as controversial election law kicks in
The BC Health Coalition marked the first day of B.C.’s new election campaign period by launching a viral video poking fun at the provincial government’s controversial Bill 42. Also dubbed B.C.’s “gag law”, The Unspeakable Deeds of Bill 42*, depicts the Election Act legislation as a comical villain who issues citations to citizens for common acts of free speech.
“This new legislation suppresses individuals’ and organizations’ right to speak publicly about important issues such as health care, by forcing them to register as third-party advertisers and placing them under severe restrictions and threats of huge fines,” said Joyce Jones, BCHC community co-chair.
Bill 42 expands the definition of election advertising to include the public dissemination of a message that takes a position on any issue with which a registered political party or candidate is associated. Failure to register as an advertiser can result in fines of $500/day, $10,000 outright, or jail time.
“We are a strictly non-partisan organization that has engaged in a free and important dialogue with citizens and our governments about protecting and expanding medicare for over 15 years,” said Jones.
“This legislation not only stifles this public debate but prevents important citizen voices from being heard,” said Jones.
Bill 42 has been the subject of outrage and criticism from groups such as the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, the Trial Lawyers Association, and many political observers.
“Although this is a serious issue, we hope this lighthearted approach will help educate the general public about Bill 42 and highlight the absurdity of the legislation’s restriction on freedom of speech,” said Jones.