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New Victoria mayor fined for election advertising omissions

Marianne Alto, along with Keep the RCMP in Surrey, failed to include mandatory authorization statements in some of their campaign advertising, says Elections BC.
New Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto was fined by Elections B.C. for failing to include mandatory authorization statements in some of her campaign advertising.

Elections B.C. has fined new Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto for failing to include mandatory authorization statements in some of her campaign advertising. 

The Local Elections Campaign Financing Act requires campaign ads to include the name of the financial agent, that it was authorized by the financial agent and a B.C. telephone number, email address or B.C. mailing address at which the financial agent may be contacted. 

Alto, who succeeded the retiring Lisa Helps, must pay a $150 fine. 

A member of her campaign team reported to Elections B.C. that the campaign published ads without authorization statements in two editions of the Victoria News and partial authorization statements in the Burnside Gorge Community Association and the James Bay Beacon newsletters. 

Invoices showed the Alto campaign spent $493.35 total on the non-compliant ads. 

Alto’s campaign claimed it was an error of omission and Elections B.C. investigator Adam Barnes concluded it would not likely have misled voters. But, he wrote: “You have participated in five local government elections as a candidate and should be aware of the election advertising requirements.” 

Three other capital region candidates were fined for similar reasons: Fred Haynes and Vernon Lord in Saanich and Janice Williams in Victoria. None of the three was elected. 

Meanwhile, Keep the RCMP in Surrey, a registered third-party group, was fined $250 after it distributed flyers that lacked the authorization statement. The group’s principle officer, Ivan Scott, told Elections B.C. that it spent $1,750 on the postcards and $1,774.40 on flyers. 

Barnes found that only a few hundred were distributed before the error was caught. 

Barnes noted that the lack of authorization statement would not likely have misled a voter about the sponsor, Scott indicated that the omission was inadvertent and KTRIS had not previously been fined. 

KTRIS-endorsed Brenda Locke defeated McCallum in the Oct. 15 mayoral election. McCallum was found not guilty of public mischief Monday in Surrey Provincial Court over a September 2021 confrontation with a KTRIS protester in a Save-On-Foods parking lot. 

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