Lali criticized for ad tactics
Fraser-Nicola NDP MLA Harry Lali is facing a slew of criticism from the BC Liberals who say he broke the rules with lambasting attack ads and a critical press release.
A conversation with Speaker of the House Bill Barisoff prompted Lali to say he “made a mistake” and he promised provincial coffers won’t pay the bill for the ads.
“I’ve got a couple of new staff and so obviously I’ll be looking over and scrutinizing everything that comes out in terms of press releases and ads,” he told the Herald.
Last week, Lali sent to B.C. media organizations a release criticizing his opponent — newly announced Liberal candidate for Fraser-Nicola Jackie Tegart — and her party for what he labelled as a closed nomination process for riding candidacy, among other criticisms.
In his ads, Lali slammed the Christy Clark B.C. government for creating a jobs plan that “will kill B.C. jobs.” Other ads stated “Why are Christy Clark Liberals refusing to reappoint BC’s Auditor General, the independent watchdog?”
Chilliwack MLA John Les asked Barisoff for an investigation into the press release and the ads, which he criticized for being a violation of using party dollars to attack other MLAs.
In a letter Les wrote last Thursday to Barisoff, he said: “I firmly believe that Mr. Lali abused his rights as a member of this legislature.”
Les is on record as later saying, “I don’t know what about this Harry doesn’t get. He’s been in the legislature for 17 years. He’s got to know that you can’t use your constituency office for partisan activity.”
Lali responded during a phone interview, saying Les and the party are being hypocritical.
“Here he is on the one side complaining about so-called partisan ads, which they are not, and attack ads, which they are not, and, meanwhile, they are running American-style, negative partisan attack ads, and their friends are doing the same thing,” he said.
While Lali said his office made a mistake, he added that the Liberals aren’t answering the tough questions.
“The BC Liberals are on the defensive and they are also very desperate.”
Lali went on to say the Liberals spent tens of millions of dollars on their own attack ads, which were prompted through surrogates.
“There is a recent surrogate attack ad that has come out against [B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix],” Lali said. “It is very personal and it is very negative.”
Lali said he will not use the $119,000 expense account for the constituency office to pay for partisan advertising, which have appeared over the last several weeks as May’s provincial election approaches.
The rule states the funds “are not to be used for political purposes,” but Lali claims they are not partisan.