Burnaby First Coalition says Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan violating bylaw ban on political ads

Media release received from new party the Burnaby First Coalition (www.burnabyfirst.caBCA election signs). Copied here verbatim.

Signs of hypocrisy: Burnaby First Coalition calls on NDP-BCA to follow or scrap political advertising bylaw
 
Burnaby – October 23, 2014 – Burnaby’s mayor is making a federal case of defending city tree bylaws while flagrantly violating his own political advertising bylaw.
 
The Burnaby First Coalition calls on the NDP’s Burnaby Citizen’s Association (BCA) to adhere to its own bylaws and create a level playing field for election campaign advertising.
 
In summer 2009 the NDP-BCA council quietly passed a bylaw amendment banning political campaign signs on public land, threatening fines or imprisonment.
 
However, BCA ads are located on public property on city-owned bus shelters, public transit vehicles, sidewalks, and boulevards.
 
The NDP-BCA advertises right in the middle of sidewalks on major streets. They purchase advertising space on bike racks and large recycling/garbage containers that display the city logo. Council privatized installation of the racks and containers on busy streets. The companies earn money from advertising.
 
Election expense documents for the 2011 election show the BCA paid Cmedia $2795.52 for ads on bike stands. $2222.64 more was paid  for ads on recycling boxes to Wayne Peppard. Peppard is the Executive Director of the BC Building Trades Council, and a member of city hall’s Park Commission. All members of commissions are selected by the mayor according to the city website.  He recently garnered media attention for using the most free golf –   $7898.24 worth – through Burnaby’s unique free pass policy, outspending even Mayor Corrigan.
 
Maclean’s magazine graded Burnaby ‘F for effective governance’ due to extremely low voter turnout. The blatant bylaw hypocrisy here is a sign – pardon the pun – of this democratic deficit. We call on the mayor to show some respect for the rule of law by either following or scrapping this undemocratic bylaw immediately. The mayor is acting as if he were above the law. That’s what happens under one-party rule. It’s one reason why we need political change” said Daren Hancott, mayoral candidate for Burnaby First .
 
Yesterday, the city election office responded to emailed complaints saying, “The Bus Shelter advertisements are paid advertising which is managed by third parties; therefore it is permissible under the bylaw and legislation pertaining to political signs.” However third party advertising is not mentioned in the sign bylaw and the signs are from the BCA itself, not third parties.
 
The BFC notes that City Hall staff has also so far not removed brochures featuring candidate photos from public libraries following complaints.
 
In the 2011 campaign staff removed opponents’ signs from private property claiming the signs – which were placed on bushes in a high visibility site – hung over public land.
Burnaby First Coalition is a new municipal party uniting a diverse spectrum of candidates that will bring fairness, inclusion, respect, and transparency to City Hall.
 
SOURCES/LINKS
-Photos of some illegally placed signs
-Sign bylaw – see p. 15 9-iii for political signs and p. 16 -# 15 & #16 for bike rack and bus shelter ads; p. 12 #6.6 for penalties
-City info on selection of committee members
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