NEWS RELEASE · 11th April 2014
Douglas Channel Watch
The Kitimat, BC, environmental group, Douglas Channel Watch (DCW), has decided to disclose how much they spent during their advertising campaign leading up to the April 12th Enbridge plebiscite in Kitimat, and is requesting that corporate giant, Enbridge, does the same.
The District of Kitimat's intention was to survey the citizens of Kitimat, to gauge how residents felt about Enbridge's dual pipeline and supertanker port proposal. It did not occur to City Ofﬁcials to put spending limits on the campaign.
Enbridge proﬁts for 2013 were over 300 million dollars, and DCW, arguably the most active group in opposition to Enbridge in Kitimat, had $200.00 in their bank account when their plebiscite campaign began.
According to Elections BC, a nonpartisan ofﬁce of the BC Legislature, a 'campaign period' is deﬁned as the 60 days prior to an election. Elections BC also states, "Third party election advertising sponsors must not sponsor election advertising during the campaign period with a value more than, a) $3,000.00 in relation to a single electoral district, and b) $150,000.00 overall.
Mark Mayrand, Canada's Chief Electoral Ofﬁcer, while speaking before a House of Commons committee in March, 2014, said, "In Canada, electoral fairness has traditionally been understood to mean maintaining a level playing ﬁeld among parties and candidates by the imposition of strict spending limits".
When Kitimat and northern BC residents saw how many full page newspaper ads, radio ads, billboards, ﬂyers, and lawn signs Enbridge was purchasing for their Kitimat plebiscite advertising campaign, people began making unsolicited donations to DCW, a group composed of local volunteers.
When DCW committed to their ﬁrst full page newspaper ad there wasn't enough money in their bank account to pay for it, so members decided they would pay for the remainder themselves if donations couldn't cover it.
"Then people began handing money to us while we were putting up lawn signs, or downtown, and somebody even left an anonymous $2,000.00 money order in one of our mailboxes" said Murray Minchin.
DCW then updated their website, added a donate button, and even more monies became available for their plebiscite advertising. Despite this sudden inﬂux of money, however, nearly all of it was used in their David vs Goliath attempt to counter the money spent by Enbridge's advertising department .
During the 60 day electoral period prior to the plebiscite, DCW spent $10,970.00 on print media ads, $792.92 on supplies, and have an outstanding debt of approximately $2,600.00 in radio ads, for a total of $14,362.92
DCW asks, in the spirit of fair play, that Enbridge also discloses an itemized list of its total spending related to the Kitimat plebiscite for the 60 days prior to April 12th, 2014, so voters can judge for themselves just how level the playing ﬁeld was in Kitimat's Enbridge plebiscite.