HALIFAX – Elections Nova Scotia has ruled the provincial Liberal government violated regulations that prohibit the distribution of partisan advertising paid for by the public in ridings with upcoming byelections.
The Nova Scotia Liberal Party was being investigated for mailing out pamphlets to residents in three ridings.
Dana Doiron, communications director for Elections Nova Scotia, also said the Liberals’ advertising expenses exceeded the limit placed on third-party advertising in a byelection.
Additionally, Doiron said the party’s advertising was in violation of the act by not indicating it was authorized by the Nova Scotia Liberal Caucus.
The byelections haven’t been called yet but provincial law says the rules prohibiting partisan advertising apply when a seat becomes vacant in the legislature.
The agency was acting on a complaint from a Progressive Conservative MLA Tim Houston, who alleged the Liberals sent out postcard-style flyers.
The flyers were distributed by mail to about 33,000 households in the Dartmouth South, Sydney-Whitney Pier and Cape Breton Centre ridings.
The Nova Scotia NDP is also being investigated by Elections Nova Scotia for flyers sent out in the Dartmouth South riding.
The NDP said the flyers were approved by the Speaker’s Office for content before Liberal MLA Allan Rowe passed away and the party didn’t realize it was breaking the rules when the flyers were mailed in mid-April.
The riding was declared vacant after Rowe died on March 16.
– With files from The Canadian Press and Marieke Walsh, Global News