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Thursday, October 6, 2022
Election ’21 notebook?? Sign, sign everywhere a sign




It's election season and signs promoting various federal candidates are proliferating around Niagara-on-the-Lake.

However, it's a short season as the Town of NOTL requires all signs to be taken down within one week of the Sept. 20 voting day.

For a time, NOTL had a severely restrictive sign bylaw. Passed in 2012, the statute included a list of just 21 locations around town where election signs were permitted on public property.

In 2018, Lord Mayor Pat Darte and council repealed Schedule C of the bylaw, which outlined certain intersections and roadsides where election signs could be placed. Now, political signs are welcome almost everywhere.

On private property signs must be set back one metre from the property line and can be no larger than three square metres (about 32 square feet).

SPEAKING OF SIGNS: In any election, federal, provincial or municipal, the sign wars can make for interesting – if inconsequential – debate and conversation.

Who has the most, the biggest, the most prominent roadside placards promoting whatever candidate?

Truth is, the parties or candidates with the deepest pockets generally have the most and biggest signs. No surprise there. It costs a lot of money to put yourself out there.

Mere hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the governor general and pulled the plug on Parliament, one of the first signs seen up on an Old Town property was for Liberal candidate Andrea Kaiser.

But then Tony Baldinelli's team went to work. 

Crews were busy over several days hammering in the Tory candidate's signs all over town in the past week. Same story in Niagara Falls. 

By an unofficial and thoroughly unscientific assessment, it seems that incumbent Baldinelli is definitely the early leader in the sign race.

Kaiser, with several large "Team Trudeau" signs, that include her photograph, is second while Peter Taras of the People's Party of Canada has several modest-sized signs in spots around town.

MISSING IN ACTION: Interestingly, perhaps, some of Taras' signs were conspicuously placed near the properties of  a few Niagara-on-the-Lake houses of worship or buildings associated with religious organizations. Though one that was near a church late last week was gone by Monday. (Since its inception, the People's Party has attracted a lot of interest from conservative religious groups.)

Some signs along Niagara Stone Road have also disappeared throughout the week.

Notably absent from the first week of the sign war skirmishes were any placards around NOTL proclaiming the merits of Brian Barker of the NDP or Melanie Holm of the Green party.

But it still is early days …

HEY, WHO IS THE INCUMBENT: Usually when someone is running for re-election, the candidate's signs say so. Sometimes stickers are added to old signs to make "Elect" read "Re-Elect." 

But so far every true blue Tony Baldinelli sign spotted across the riding, which includes NOTL, the Falls and Fort Erie, just says, "Elect."

Conservative campaign official Bart Maves blamed the PM.

"A greedy lunge for power by Trudeau led us to an early call, so many returning MPs and candidates are simply using last election's campaign signs. To do otherwise would be wasteful and incur unnecessary expense," Maves told The Lake Report.

He said the Tory campaign is almost out of signs now and will order new ones soon.

Meanwhile, if the Conservatives decide to update their old signs with "Re-Elect" stickers, perhaps Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford's family-owned company, Deco Labels in Etobicoke, can help. Remember Ford's infamous anti-carbon tax gas pump stickers?