A retired Surrey senator’s automated endorsement of a six-member slate running for election in White Rock has prompted a complaint to Elections BC over inappropriate advertising.
Elections BC communications manager Don Bain Friday confirmed the violation by the White Rock Coalition. It entails a failure to include a statement of authorization by the group’s financial agent with the automated message.
“Advertising all requires an authorization statement,” Main told Peace Arch News, citing new rules that took effect last May regarding advertising and campaign financing. “We’re still working with them to have the authorization statement included.”
Coalition spokesperson Gordon Schoberg said the telephone endorsement by Gerry St. Germain rang at more than 10,000 residential White Rock lines last Wednesday evening (Nov. 5).
In the recording, the senator – who is also a former president of the Conservative Party of Canada, minister of transport, minister of forestry and MP for Mission-Port Moody – identifies himself immediately as a retired senator, and states he is calling on behalf of the coalition.
He then names the six candidates (incumbents Grant Meyer and Bill Lawrence along with Lynne Sinclair, Megan Knight, Doug Hart and Cliff Annable), provides contact information and concludes with, “I believe we need a progressive team representing all of White Rock. Thank you and good evening.”
Schoberg said the endorsement was arranged after St. Germain – who was invited but unavailable to attend the coalition’s launch party – “offered to endorse the group in whatever manner we wanted.”
“It was a mutual thing,” Schoberg said. “We felt he would be a good endorser.”
Schoberg said the phone numbers of residents who have contacted the coalition to complain have been removed from the call-out list.
He added he disagrees with Elections BC’s interpretation of the advertising rules, but has complied by modifying the script. The authorization statement will be included in any future phone calls, he said.
St. Germain could not be reached for comment.