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Partisan receipts force Kelowna pub owner to register as B.C. election advertiser

Last Updated Oct 1, 2020 at 5:45 am PDT

A pub in Kelowna is being condemned and applauded for a new political message on its receipts. (Screenshot Facebook/Marcus Henry Weber)

A Kelowna pub will register as a third-party advertiser in the election after writing 'Vote that f***** out' on receipts

The pub owner blames the NDP leader for COVID-19 restrictions he says are hurting his business

Elections BC explains this does count as advertising, meaning the owner had to register as an advertiser

KELOWNA (NEWS 1130) — A pub in Kelowna had to register as a third-party advertiser in the upcoming provincial election after encouraging customers to “Vote that f***** out,” on receipts.

Dave Willoughby, the president of Doc Willoughby’s pub, says he has already taken the message off his receipts, but he is still registering as a third-party advertiser.

RELATED: Kelowna pub tells customers to ‘vote that f***** out’ in B.C. election over COVID-19 restrictions

“They’re concerned about our support for various parties, but the reality is, we’re not spending any money to put a message on social media that encourages people to get out to the polls and vote,” he tells NEWS 1130. “In our opinion, the current government isn’t the way we should be voting.”

Elections BC has been in contact with Willoughby over the receipts.

What’s considered election advertising? 

Andrew Watson, with Elections BC, says the Election Act defines advertising “quite broadly.”

“It defines it as the transmission to the public by any means during a campaign period of an advertising message that promotes or opposes directly or indirectly a registered political party or the election of a candidate.”

While there are exemptions, such as in news or by an individual that isn’t on a commercial level, he says in this case, the definition was met.

He also explains there’s no spending requirement to register as an advertiser.

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Willoughby says he blames NDP leader John Horgan for COVID-19 restrictions hurting his business and instead supports the Liberal Party.

“Elections BC wants to know how much money we’re going to push towards the Liberal party, but the reality is, it’s a crass cry for help,” he says. “You know, I’m a bit apologetic about saying that. I’m not happy to have to put something like that on our receipts, but at the same time, I don’t think the provincial government really, fully understands the hospitality industry.”

He explains he has a master’s degree in public health and he doesn’t agree with provincial health orders forcing all bars, pubs, and restaurants to stop selling alcohol after 10 p.m. when he says the worst offenders are around the Lower Mainland.

“But in the Interior, our (COVID-19) numbers are quite flat and I don’t know why we can’t look at bars and restaurants and the regulation of them in a regional fashion,” he says.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry put the order in place earlier this month.

The B.C. election is on Oct. 24.

-With files from Monika Gul