May 1, 2012
Introduced in the 2008 session of the legislature, it limited third parties to spending $3,000 per constituency, $150,000 in total on any and all advertising, for or against a particular party or policy position.
In the initial version of the bill, the gag was applied to the 120 days leading up to the formal 28-day election campaign. But after considerable backlash, the Liberals halved the pre-campaign restriction to 60 days.
“We ran something up a flagpole and it didn’t fly like we thought it would,” as then-attorney-general Wally Oppal memorably explained. “When you look at the 120 days, a court could say that the principle is sound but the length of the period is inordinate and it is an infringement on freedom of speech.”
But a 60-day infringement on freedom of speech? No problem. “I have no difficulty saying that in my view, 60 days is reasonable and will pass constitutional muster.
Unfortunately for him and the Liberals, the courts did not agree. The BCTF challenged the legislation, winning a big victory on the eve of the 2009 election, as B.C. Supreme Court Justice Frank Cole shredded the gag in decisive fashion.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Palmer+Legislation+just+running/6550263/story.html#ixzz1tjXYCvRV