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B.C. opposition critical of taxpayer funded online video touting benefits of NDP government's legislation


A video shared from the B.C. government's social media accounts last week, singing the praises of the government’s short-term rental legislation, is being criticized by the opposition.

The online video featured a renter touting the benefits of pending new laws, and how they allowed him to find a place to live.

“I live in a really nice place now,” said the renter in the video, a man named Andrew.

The renter in the video isn’t a paid actor, and the NDP says the video cost approximately $375 to produce. Still, the opposition BC United point out its tax payers' money footing that bill, and they say it's not a good use of tax payer money -- calling it effectively an advertisement for the NDP.

“(An) advertising budget that no other party has access to other than the governing party -- to run what is very blatantly a government-centric advertisement,” said BC United MLA Peter Milobar when describing the video Tuesday.

The government insists its not an ad, claiming the video provides valuable information.

“I think it’s important for the public to know that there are a lot of initiatives taking place that are helping them get back into the housing market – or find the housing,” said Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon.

The premier's office says it's routine for his team to create similar videos featuring folks who benefited from government programs – including, for example, one on rehabilitation services for people battling addictions.

“They share that information through social media – it’s a regular thing,” said Premier David Eby Tuesday, when asked about the video at an unrelated press conference. “It’s not a paid ad -- and aside from the staff time to upload it, it wasn’t a promoted tweet."

Videos like this are common by all parties in power, but is a trend that crosses the line says Hamish Telford, a political scientist at the University of the Fraser Valley.

“We’re being blanketed by commercials from the government, which have the effect of promoting the government party in power, which is right now the NDP. But this is something down previously by the BC Liberals -- and nobody has bothered to reform the system,” said Telford. Top Stories

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