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CUPE BC applauds ruling that upholds constitutional right of third parties to criticize government

BURNABY— Today’s Supreme Court decision rejecting a bid by the BC Attorney General’s office to delay a decision that declared parts of Bill 42 unconstitutional is a great victory for freedom of speech and of expression, the Canadian Union of Public Employees said in response.

This afternoon, Justice Peter Lowry rejected the BC Liberal government’s request for a stay of proceedings on Justice Cole’s decision last week that affects a multi-union charter challenge of Bill 42, The Election Law Amendment Act. Justice Cole’s ruling declared third-party spending limits during the pre-election campaign period an infringement of constitutional rights to freedom of speech.

The government wanted that ruling delayed until after the May 12 election, but Justice Lowry rejected the Attorney General’s claim that last week’s decision would harm the political process.

“We are delighted that Justice Lowry has confirmed what we already knew and which Justice Cole had made clear last week,” said CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.

“It’s a great victory for freedom of speech, but I can’t say I’m surprised that the Court has thrown out the government’s request. This bid to prevent us from advertising was a deeply cynical move that displayed a shocking degree of contempt for the voting public.”

CUPE BC challenged Bill 42 in B.C. Supreme Court with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, the B.C. Nurses Union, and the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of B.C.