PC Party among others complaining about use of billboards during byelection

Submitted photo. The province put up billboards addressing teachers’ salaries ahead of a byelection and during collective agreement negotiations with teachers.

The PC Party says that the Saskatchewan Party violated the Election Act with an advertising campaign leading up to the recent byelections

Regina Leader-Post Staff

The Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan is the latest political entity to raise eyebrows at the use of billboards leading up to the recent byelection.

Before the byelection period, an advertising campaign by the Saskatchewan Party had billboards across the province brandished with teachers’ salaries, suggesting that Saskatchewan teachers are some of the highest paid in the country.

We need stricter enforcement on The Elections Act, 1996 regarding advertising,” said interim PC leader Rose Buscholl in a statement. The PC Party claimed the timing of the billboards breeched the rules set out in The Election Act, outlining advertising during an election period.

“This was a provincewide campaign that came out not only at the early stages of bargaining for teachers’ contracts, but also during the byelection,” said Buscholl. “The Election Act, 1996 is there to ensure fairness and integrity to the democratic process, and by ignoring sections of the act, the Sask. Party shows a blatant disregard for that process.”

Earlier this month, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) sent Elections Saskatchewan a letter concerning the billboards. STF was told that the billboards did not violate the Election Act because the advertisements were put outside the constituencies where byelections were occurring. STF president Samantha Becotte called on the party to take down the billboards, saying that the party was “cherry-picking” data unfairly during their collective bargaining agreement.

In late July, New Democrat leader Carla Beck criticized the Saskatchewan Party on Twitter for using the advertisements.

Buscholl said that they have yet to file a formal complaint with Elections Saskatchewan but intend to this week.