shepard-clark_thumb This article is more than 3 years old

This Wealthy Tycoon is Behind a New Shadowy Group Running Ads Attacking Electoral Reform in BC

Name of sitting BC Liberal MLA also appears listed on astroturf group’s board of directors

BC’s referendum on electoral reform isn’t even officially underway, but interests linked to big corporations and the BC Liberals are already working in the shadows to defend the status quo.

This past week saw the launch of a new anti-electoral reform organization calling itself “”

They’re an astroturf group fronted by wealthy lumber baron Jim Shepard, a former CEO of forestry giant Canfor, a longtime BC Liberal donor as well as a close ally and trusted adviser to former premier Christy Clark.

Its purpose? Undermining the legitimacy of the upcoming referendum on electoral reform and sowing confusion about whether electoral reform is a good idea.

Global BC (May 13, 2013)

What’s more, the group’s website indicates the organization is actually run by another oddly named entity called the “KNOWB4UVOTE.COM SOCIETY,” which was registered back in February.

According to a records search, the group is registered at the Vancouver address of Fasken, one of BC’s biggest corporate law firms that describes itself as a “home to many members of our mining, energy, technology and real estate teams.”

Listed on the “non-partisan” group’s board is a director by the name of Sam Sullivan, which coincidentally happens to be the name of a sitting BC Liberal MLA.

BC Registries and Online Services

Shepard previously headed another astroturf group called Concerned Citizens for BC which ran a $1 million ad campaign funded by big money in support of Christy Clark’s BC Liberals in 2013, leading The Tyee’s Bill Tieleman to describe the wealthy lumber baron as a “hardline conservative” and a “threat to democracy.”

Back in 2001, Shepard also took out full-page newspaper ads in support of BC Liberal leader Gordon Campbell, a tactic he recently resurrected wrapping the front page of The Province newspaper with an ad promoting his anti-electoral reform group:

Earlier this month, BC’s government finalized details for a two-stage referendum that will give voters a chance to ditch BC’s outdated First-Past-the-Post voting system (FPTP) in favour of a model based on proportional representation: the leading alternative to FPTP used by most industrialized countries around the world.


Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.


Support Our Journalism
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

ELECTION Explainer

CEO of Private Healthcare Company Hosted Fundraising Event for Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole

Related Stories


Justin Trudeau Tells International Conference Left-Wing ‘Extremist Groups’ Are ‘Pushing White Supremacy’

View the post

Ford’s Reduced COVID-19 School Funds Pushing Up Toronto Catholic Class Sizes, Putting Students At Risk, Teachers Warn

View the post

Years Of Wage Freezes Demanded By Manitoba PCs Leading To ‘Brain Drain,’ University Of Manitoba Faculty Say

View the post


Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Work & rights

Shanice Regis-Wilkins

How Labour Activists Pushed For Policies That Protect Workers and the Environment This Election

View the post