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B.C. Liberals book 30 minutes of TV time to kick off campaign

B.C. Premier Christy Clark smiles during a rally at Surrey-Fleetwood candidate Peter Fassbender’s campaign office on March 26, 2013.

Darryl Dyck/The Globe and Mail

The B.C. Liberal Party, running far behind the opposition New Democrats in the polls as campaigning looms for the May. 14 provincial election, has bought time for a 30-minute TV special next Sunday.

In a statement, the Liberals said the show, entitled Strong Economy, Secure Tomorrow will kick off the party's campaign for a fourth term and the party's agenda. The writ period begins April 16.

The show, featuring Premier Christy Clark as well as what a party statement described as "everyday British Columbians" and community leaders will air at 7 p.m. on Global TV. It will also be available online during the 28-day campaign period.

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There were no immediate details from the Liberals on how much the program will cost. In the 60-day pre-writ period, political parties are limited to spending $1.2-million in election expenses. They can spend $4.6-million during the campaign period between April 16 and May. 14.

The Liberal manoeuvre came as B.C. New Democrats released a 30-second TV spot cut from a February speech that leader Adrian Dix gave to the party's provincial council in which he talks of his party's commitment to practical change.

A recent Angus Reid poll suggested the NDP are 20 points ahead of the Liberals.

Former premier Gordon Campbell delivered three TV addresses as premier – his last in October 2010 aimed at winning support for the harmonized sales tax, which was subsequently voted down in a voter referendum. The Liberals booked 30 minutes, also on Global, which was paid for from the government's advertising budget. Mr. Campbell, facing further criticism over the HST, subsequently resigned in November.

Other premiers who have used such addresses include Social Credit's Bill Bennett in 1982 and William Vander Zalm in 1990.

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