Negative election ads harm democracy, experts say

Negative election ads harm democracy, experts say
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WATCH: The election campaign hasn’t even begun, but the negative ads are already out. Still, experts say they ultimately harm democracy.

A Facebook page that contains harsh words for Victoria mayor (and mayoral candidate) Lisa Helps is prompting a strong reaction.

Some support the views, but others have criticized its creators for remaining anonymous.

Lisa Helps is inviting the people behind the anonymous page to begin a dialogue with her.

“My response is, I would love to invite the people who are creating those Facebook pages for a cup of tea. Let’s have a conversation,” Helps said.

Political communications expert David Black says negative ads and pages like this ultimately harm democracy.

“It makes people feel less confident in political discourse, less willing to vote,” he said.

This year, the campaign period begins on Sept. 22.

After that, campaign rules and spending limits will apply.

In Victoria, mayoral candidates can spend about $54,000 and councillor candidates can spend up to about $27,000.

Third parties can spend up to about $2,700, but they have to register with Elections B.C. and provide information about themselves on the ad.

Last year, Helps spent about $19 000, the least of all her opponents.

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