Thursday, April 23, 2009

 

B.C. Election Act does NOT require political parties to make their websites inaccessible

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: FW: A question
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 13:13:17 -0700
From: Western, Nola EBC:EX


Dear [Concerned Citizen of B.C.],

The Election Act does not require registered political parties to make parts of their websites inaccessible during a campaign period. I am unable to provide any clarification on why some sites may appear to be inaccessible.

Regards,

M. Nola Western, CA
Executive Director, Electoral Finance & Corporate Administration
Elections BC
Phone: (250) 387-4141
Toll-free: 1-800-661-8683 / TTY 1-888-456-5448
Fax: (250) 387-3578
Location: 1117 Wharf Street, Victoria
Email: nola.western@elections.bc.ca
Website: www.elections.bc.ca


-----Original Message-----
From: [Concerned Citizen of B.C.]
Sent: April 22, 2009 5:26 PM
To: Elections BC, Generalmail EBC:EX
Subject: A question

To whom it may concern,

Why are both the NDP and the BCLiberal web sites (or at least current parts of them) inaccessible since the dropping of the writ?

I assume the same applies to the other parties - although I haven't checked. Given the fact that many citizens rely upon the internet for information relative to matters democratic and political this seems a very strange development.

I've read through the Election Act and can find no section which would seem to require what seems to be to be a rather absurd situation - the airwaves and papers are polluted with unavoidable and annoying political advertising of every conceivable type - most of questionable veracity - and yet the parties themselves are not permitted to use their web sites (often where information important to citizens and constituents is at least occasionally available) nor is the public allowed to access them.

This seems a most curious and anti-democratic measure which I intend to take up with whatever party is responsible for such an absurdity.

Any clarification you can supply would be most helpful.


Yours truly,

[Concerned Citizen of B.C.]

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We should now be asking ourselves how we have fallen into such a trap that we would even think of accepting the closure of democratic channels this way.

So I want to know: who closed those sites down! We need those sites re-opened immediately. People (including me) need access to that information.

Special thanks to the "Concerned Citizen of B.C." for progress this far.

- BC Mary

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BC Election rules seem to have gone rogue. Read:

Print a leaflet. Go to jail!
It could be you. BC's Election Act doesn't just throttle the big spenders.

The Tyee - April 23, 2009

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G West has left a new comment on your post "B.C. Election Act does NOT require political parties to make websites inaccessible ...":


I think I have a clarification. The action has nothing to do with the election act (as the BC Liberals seem to imply on their site) but is a function of the fact that the documents and other information are on the site of the 'Official Opposition' which is under the jurisdiction of the legislature and not the chief electoral officer. I suppose the same applies to at least some of the facilities of the Government - ie, the BC Liberals.

It is an arcane and ridiculous rule...one hopes the documents will soon be available in another venue which actually has concerns for the public interest.

The impartiality of the legislature - given the events that took (and take) place there in association with the Basi Virk affair and the activities of the CEO and his business friends - seems to have been compromised already to a point where such a threadbare attempt as this only points out how far down the road to corruption of supposedly democratic institutions we have travelled since 2001.

Posted by G West to The Legislature Raids at April 24, 2009 10:46 AM

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Comments:
BC Mary, I just left a comment on House of Infamy as well.

Technically,the elections bc person is not wrong. My understanding is this, based on information given to me by a poliical staffer.

The CAUCUS sites of both parties must be offline during the period of the writ because they are government sites and funded with public/government funds. NOT for campaign use.

The political parties own sites, funded with donations or whatever, are allowed because there is no use of governement funds there.

So, I would take this to mean that since only the home page of the Liberal caucus site is down, but the rest of the site IS still operational and accesible to the public through Google, that the Liberals would be in violation of the election act.

I've fired off an email to elections BC about this, and if I what I have been told is true, then a formal complaint should be lodged. I suggest someome takes a screen shot of the site for posterity.... hehe.
 
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Laila,

That political staffer you've been talking to, seems to be another victim of the Public Affairs Bureau.

I can imagine him/her saying that yes, the 235-person PAB can function on "government funds" of between $28 and $31 million a year, filling our brains day after day with photo ops and staged propaganda about Gordo's Golden Era or stuff Stonewally can't talk about, and that is OK ...

but, on the other hand, that if the New Democrat Opposition puts BC Rail court documents online so people can use them, that's an unthinkable act of sabotage threatening democracy? The message seems to be: "Don't even think of trying it?"

Tell him/her to get lost, to go spend some time under a large tree, pondering the meaning of a democratic society.

Tell him/her this kind of double-think is bad for our mental health.

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Oh, I agree with you Mary- you don't need to explain to me. I was just pointing out the difference for some of the readers between the two. Some were not aware the cacaus sites are actually government sites.

To me it doesn't make a difference if the site is paid for with gov't coffers or donations, the BC Rail documents should be accesible to all, particularly in light of the relevance to the future of our province.

We can hope that the NDP are able to get them up and running on their regular party site soon. Of course, this is all so conveniant for the Liberals,as you've pointed out!!
 
Laila and Mary,

I happen to know that the information in that email from the office of the chief electoral officer (which is quite unequivocal) has been copied to the leader of at least one of the two main parties in this election.

There has been no substantive response to it as yet.

I think the message is clear - the parties - or their officials - are being disingenuous with you.

One wonders why.
 
"I think the message is clear - the parties - or their officials - are being disingenuous with you."So the creepy question is WHY? I am feeling quite the opposite of optimistic this morning. It's as if the BC liaRs were home invaders (our province being the home) and the homeowners are about to issue an invitation to the invaders to return in order to steal the rest of the stuff they weren't able to carry away the during the first two invasions.

It almost seems as if the only ones we could hope would help us end the crime wave are complicit, themselves.

My question for the morning is - why does the NDP seem to be trying so desperately to lose the election?
 
I think I have a clarification. The action has nothing to do with the election act (as the BC Liberals seem to imply on their site) but is a function of the fact that the documents and other information are on the site of the 'Official Opposition' which is under the jurisdiction of the legislature and not the chief electoral officer. I suppose the same applies to at least some of the facilities of the Government - ie, the BC Liberals.

It is an arcane and ridiculous rule...one hopes the documents will soon be available in another venue which actually has concerns for the public interest.

The impartiality of the legislature - given the events that took (and take) place there in association with the Basi Virk affair and the activities of the CEO and his business friends - seems to have been compromised already to a point where such a threadbare attempt as this only points out how far down the road to corruption of supposedly democratic institutions we have travelled since 2001.
 
G West, your clarification doesn't account for the fact that as far as I can tell the ENTIRE BC Liberal Government Caucus site is completely accessible - even though it is replete with unsubstantiated anti-NDP claims and attacks. But I guess the Liberals control the legislature (or what pretends to be a legislature) and apparently have the right to apply their interpretation of the rules to the "Official Opposition" only!

When the public documents obtained by justice critic, Leonard Krog are behind some access blocking worthy of the Peoples Republic of China while this crap gets a free ride and is available to the public, something is seriously rotten in the police state of James Bay!

If the link above won't work for you try pasting into the address bar of your browser:


http://www.governmentcaucus.bc.ca/EN/recent_news/

I hate to actually encourage anyone to be exposed to this drivel, but it is the only way to show the disparity in adherence to the "supposed" rules of impartiality!
 
You are absolute correct koot My understanding is that, like almost everything else this government has done since day one - the Campbell forces lie, obfuscate and break the rules - just as, for example, the solicitor general has pretended to be acting responsibly by 'giving' up his responsibilities for the motor vehicle act and ICBC...I'd suggest nothing could be further from the truth - the media had discovered the situation and Mr Van Dongen tried to make the best of a bad lot.... More later!
 
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