The Kelowna restaurant that printed a political message on customer receipts has been forced to register as a third-party advertiser with Elections BC.
Doc Willoughby’s, a pub in Kelowna, had been printing the message, “Oct 24 vote that f*cker out,” at the bottom of its receipts, followed with “Oct 24th get out and vote! Let’s save our industry!”
Someone posted a photo of a Willoughby’s receipt on social media, and it was then shared on several other online platforms.
Elections BC says it reached out to the pub’s owner after learning of the pub’s messages through media reports. The office requested that Willoughby’s register as a third party advertiser.
“When an individual organization is communicating in that fashion during the election, it does trigger a requirement to register with our offices as a third-party advertiser,” said Andrew Watson, spokesperson for Elections BC.
“During an election, the Election Act defines advertising, as any … message communicated to the public that promotes or opposes, directly or indirectly, the election of a candidate or party,” he said.
“(The) communication on a receipt that took a position promoting or opposing a candidate did meet that definition under law,” he added.
Watson says his office interpreted the message as being against NDP leader John Horgan.
“The message was to vote that person out … the incumbent candidate,” he said.
The restaurant registered as a third-party advertiser on Sept. 30, and is listed in the publicly available list of third party advertisers.
The reason for the rules is to create transparency around who is paying for advertising during elections, Watson said.
Elections BC’s “first step is always to educate” an organization or business that may unknowingly be breaking election advertising rules, Watson said.
The office now considers the matter with Willoughby’s “resolved,” Watson added.
CTV News Vancouver has reached out to the restaurant for comment.