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Elections BC investigates Squamish flyer attack ad campaign

Authorities looking into the spending of Dikran Bedirian to see if they have exceeded election advertising limits.
Flyer sent in the mail to The Squamish Chief office
Flyer sent in the mail to The Squamish Chief office.

Following a new election flyer campaign that has blanketed Squamish, Elections BC is investigating a third-party advertiser to see if they have exceeded election advertising limits.

Spokesperson Andrew Watson told The Squamish Chief on Sept. 23 that the election oversight body is looking into the spending of Dikran Bedirian, who is listed as the registered sponsor of a flyer attack ads campaign.

"We are reviewing advertising sponsored by Dikran Bedirian to determine if it has exceeded the directed advertising expense limit," said Watson in an email to The Squamish Chief. "We have not made a determination at this time."

On Sept. 29, Elections BC said they contacted Dikran Bedirian and were told that they would not be sponsoring further directed advertising for this election.

"Our review of their activities for compliance with the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act is ongoing," said Watson.

"At this time, Elections BC has not come to any conclusions about any potential infractions. Disclosure reports for third-party sponsors are due by Jan. 13, 2023. We will make a determination on any potential overspend after their third party sponsor disclosure report is received."

The flyers, which have recently been mailed throughout town, are part of an attack campaign against mayoral candidate Armand Hurford.

As per election regulations, the directed advertising expense limit for Squamish is $1,023.96. That limit began being calculated on Sept. 17.

Bedirian is also listed in Facebook's ad library as the originator of attack ads that were published by a Facebook page called Squamish Now. Elections BC has since forced Bedirian to rename the page with their name.

As of Sept. 28, Facebook ad library data says Dikran Bedirian spent up to roughly $2,600 from Sept. 13 to Sept. 20. Facebook does not break down exactly on what days that amount was spent.

Watson wrote that under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act, if a third-party sponsor exceeds a third-party advertising limit, they are disqualified from sponsoring third-party advertising until after the next general local election; prohibited from accepting sponsorship contributions until after the next general local election, and subject to a monetary penalty of up to two times the amount by which the limit was exceeded.

Watson said that all third-party advertising sponsors are required to swear or solemnly affirm that their registration documents are accurate before a notary, a lawyer or a commissioner for taking oaths in British Columbia before submitting them to Elections BC.

They are required to verify the applicant's identity, he wrote.

"We have spoken with Dikran Bedirian on the phone in the past, in addition to corresponding with them via email," Watson wrote.

The Squamish Chief attempted to contact Bedirian for comment via email and phone but so far has not been able to reach anyone. 

*Please note that this story has been updated as new information came in. We also corrected the disclosure report date deadline, which is Jan. 13, 2023, not 2022. 


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