Elections BC is penalizing several candidates from Vanderhoof ‘s local government elections last fall. The candidates are being fined for sponsoring election advertising without an authorization statement during the campaign period ahead of the general voting day on Oct. 15, 2022.
Vanderhoof residents Kenneth Holden, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor, and unsuccessful council candidates Henry Thiessen, William Teichroeb and Bradley Dejax, all face fines. The individuals were all first time contenders for public office.
Candidates were each notified of the contravention under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act and the accompanying monetary penalties by Elections BC through letters addressed to them on Aug. 8.
The penalties come after Elections BC received a complaint on Oct. 6, 2022, before the general voting day on Oct. 15, regarding an election advertisement flyer promoting their candidacy was missing the required authorization statement.
The candidates were contacted by the compliance team and the flyer in question was updated. The complaint file was then forwarded to the investigation team to follow up.
According to Elections BC’s investigation records, Kenneth Holden spent $140 to produce 200 flyers and this amount was split evenly between Teichroeb, Thiessen and Dejax.
The investigation found the candidates in contravention of Section 44 (1) of the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act which requires a candidate sponsoring election advertising to ensure it identifies the financial agent, indicates it was authorized by the financial agent and provides contact details of the same agent.
Adam Barnes, Elections BC’s director of investigation, told the candidates in the letter that the findings require him to issue a penalty of up to $5,000 against them. However, after assessing the penalty, Barnes ordered Holden to pay $200. Teichroeb, Dejax and Thiessen were all fined $100.
Explaining the factors behind lowering the fines, Barnes said the lack of an authorization statement would not likely have misled a reader to conclude that the flyer was sponsored by another individual or organization – the transparency purpose of the Act had been substantially met
The number of flyers handed out was relatively low, amounting to approximately 150, he added.
Barnes also noted that once contacted by Elections BC, the individuals cooperatively brought themselves into compliance, the individuals were cooperative with the investigation, they have not previously been a candidate for local public office and have not previously been the subject of a monetary penalty by Elections BC.
Once penalized, the individuals have 40 days to comply.