Town Hall Removing Election Signs

The Municipal Elections Act does not regulate signs, but an amended town Election Policy does and the candidates have been put on notice through a series of emails:

October 10, Paula Parker, Manager of Municipal Governance for the town emailed the candidates:

In light of a few election sign complaints, please note that all signs should be placed on private property.

Section 70(4) of The Municipal Elections Act specifically prohibits a municipality from making a contribution to a candidate’s election campaign. The Act also prohibits a candidate, or someone acting on the candidate’s behalf, from accepting a contribution from a person who is not entitled to make a contribution.

Contributions, as defined in section 66(1) of the Elections Act are; money, goods and services. As such, any use by a candidate of the Corporation’s resources for his or her election campaign, would be seen as a contribution by the Town to the candidate, which is a violation of the Act.

As a result of the above noted, and as per the recently amended Town of Amherstburg Election Policy (attached again for your reference), please refrain from putting signs on municipal property. (this includes municipal road allowances)

If you have any questions regarding where your signs should be located, administration is always here to help. Feel free to call or email.

October 20 at 12:08 pm, Paula Parker advised the candidates that the town was still receiving complaints about election signs and that effective 12 pm on the following day, the policy would be enforced and signs on municipal property would be removed. Signs removed by the town would be available for pick up on October 22.

October 20, Aldo DiCarlo emailed Paula Parker that it would be helpful to know whose signs have been complained about.

October 20 Paula Parker responded: The purpose of the previous email was to provide all candidates with information as it relates to the Town’s Election Policy.  In cases where a contravention of the Town’s Election Policy were noted, the Town has been proactive and has directly contacted those candidates affected.

This email also serves as a reminder to all candidates that the Town will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action where necessary.

October 21 Marc Renaud notified Paula Parker that signs were removed on Fort and Balaclava without notification.

October 21 Paula Parker advised that yesterday’s email served as notice that signs would be removed today at 12pm if they were on Town property and available for pick up October 22.

October 21 Glenn Swinton emailed Paula Parker: Having not received ANY such notification, I will assume that all of my issued signage is compliant and exactly where I left it.

October 21 Paula Parker replied: On August 11, 2014, Council adopted the Election Policy. The report advised Council that the Election Policy would supersede the Town’s Sign By-law in accordance with Section 70(4) and 66(1) of the Municipal Elections Act. All candidates were advised of these sections of the Act via email on Friday, October 10, 2014. The Town will continue to enforce the Election Policy up to and including Election Day. We are asking all candidates to abide by the Council approved Election Policy.

I hope that you can appreciate that the Town does not only manage its responsibilities through a complaint driven process, but also takes the necessary steps to enforce Town policies as required, with a proactive approach. Elections are sensitive in nature and the Town must govern itself accordingly.

October 21 Glenn Swinton responded: Please don’t patronize me by trying to suggest the town takes a proactive approach on policies. Without beating a dead horse on the subject please note,

Your “Election Policy” as amended August 11, 2014 clearly states:

12-b) “Election signs shall be removed if a complaint is received about a specific sign;”

12-c) ” The candidate shall, within 24 hours after receiving verbal instructions from a municipal official, remove a sign that contravenes the above. The Town reserves the right to remove election signs if the candidate fails to remove the contravening sign/signs within the 24-hour time frame.”

By way of your own policy I suggest the Town of Amherstburg has illegally removed campaigning signs outside of the “election Policy” provided from your office. Since this chain of emails has been shared with all, including the current Council members of Amherstburg that are seeking re-election, perhaps one of them could jump in and direct their staff on the laws they have passed for the taxpayers.

This is ridiculous.