Elections B.C. shuts down anti-Basran Facebook page | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Elections B.C. shuts down anti-Basran Facebook page

Mayor Colin Basran is pictured in this file photo.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
October 12, 2018 - 12:15 PM

KELOWNA - Kelowna lawyer David Kemp managed to get a Facebook page shut down by Elections B.C. as illegal third party advertising, even though supporters of the page attacked Kemp and his legal abilities.

“One of our peeps is a lawyer as well with far more experience than you so be careful who you try to bully,” was written on the page after Kemp informed them he had reported the “Say No to (Mayor) Colin Basran” Facebook page to Elections B.C. and sent them a link on third party campaign rules.

“LOL,” Kemp replied. “The people at Elections B.C. also have far more experience than I, so I’ll let them argue with you."

“I’ve done my homework so don’t waste your time,” was the retort.

“It wasn’t the fact that I thought this page was particularly damaging,“ Kemp told iNFOnews.ca today, Oct. 12. “It was in limited scope. But it’s the kind of negative politics I don’t appreciate. I don’t think that’s a good thing in a community like this.”

Kemp, who is a Basran supporter, said the Facebook page was full of attacks on Basran’s personal life and motivation for running, all of which he felt were untrue.

A screenshot of the offending sponsored Facebook post.
A screenshot of the offending sponsored Facebook post.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK

Kemp was sent the Facebook link by a friend who asked what he thought about it. After checking with a couple of fellow lawyers and doing a bit of research, Kemp notified Elections B.C. which quickly shut it down.

At issue was not the fact that there was a political comment in a Facebook page – which is perfectly legal - but that the page was “boosted,” meaning someone had paid Facebook to get a bigger audience. That violates election rules that say third party groups have to register if they are spending money to either support or criticize a specific candidate.

Kemp received an email from Cameron Harrison, Investigations Program Coordinator at Elections B.C. saying the people responsible for the Facebook page were contacted.

“We were advised a sponsored post was inadvertently paid for and once this mistake was noticed, it was immediately taken down,” Harrison wrote. “It was only online for a few hours.”

“It’s quite funny to say that it was a mistake when they were defending it so vociferously,” Kemp said.

Kemp said he posted the exchange on his own Facebook page and “received tons of replies and discussion debating ethics in campaign races.”

“It really blew me away how interested people were in this topic and how respectful and measured most of the discussion was, despite the fact that there were people from all sides of the political spectrum," he said.

He has no idea who created the page but suspects it was a supporter of Basran's main challenger for the mayor's job, Tom Dyas.

“The page did express, at many points, support for Tom Dyas,” Kemp wrote in an email. “To Mr. Dyas’s credit, he stressed that he had no connection to the page, nor did he support what they were doing.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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