Election Sign Vandalism Shows Disrespect to Democracy

Vandalized sign for Conservative Candidate Frank Pullia
Vandalized sign for Conservative Candidate Frank Pullia

THUNDER BAY – Elections bring out both the best and sometimes the worst in people. The political views we all hold are often deeply held. Sometimes voting is a generational thing with people voting for a particular party because their parents, and sometimes grandparents voted for that party. That said, what is great about Canadian elections is that each person is entitled and can have their views respected.

You don’t have to agree with another person’s political views. And they don’t have to agree with yours, but as long as the debate is civil and respectful, what we are all doing is honouring democracy and all of the sacrifices so many have made to uphold the rights of all Canadians.

One of the sadder parts of election campaigns is sign vandalism. It is a cowardly way of protesting, in my opinion. If you don’t like a particular political party, get out there and volunteer for a political party you do like and can support.

Across Thunder Bay, there are increasing incidents of election sign vandalism.

Now, not only is vandalizing election signs cowardly in my view, but it is also a criminal offense.

Section 325 of the Canada Elections Act states that, during an election period, no one may interfere with the transmission of election advertising, such as a campaign sign.

Prohibition — prevention or impairment of transmission

  •  (1) No person shall prevent or impair the transmission to the public of an election advertising message without the consent of a person with authority to authorize its transmission.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply with respect to

    • (a) the prevention or impairment, by a public authority, of an unlawful transmission if reasonable notice has first been given to the person who authorized the transmission; or

    • (b) the removal by an employee of a public authority of a sign, poster or banner where the posting of it is a hazard to public safety.

Elections Canada says however:

  • Government agencies may remove signs that do not respect provincial or municipal laws, after informing the person who authorized the posting of the sign that they plan to remove it.
  • If the sign is a safety hazard, government agencies may remove it without informing the person who authorized the posting of the sign.
  • Returning officers and other election officers may remove signs from public property where a polling place is located.

If you are not sure whether the sign is on private or public property, check with your municipality or other government agency.

NetNewsLedger has pledged that if our staff see vandalized election signs we will contact the candidate’s office an let them know.