Monday, October 6, 2008

Haldimand "Federal Election 2008 Here We Go Again with the Signs"

For those of you that personally know me, know that I have a pet peeve with the deliberate placing of "Election Signs" on municipal property. I wrote about this when I was working with Toby Barrett during the Provincial election (signs, signs, everywhere signs). When I ran in the last Municipal Election in Haldimand County I heard the "oh I didn't know" that I couldn't put my sign there mentality.

First I would like to state that it is the "Responsibility" of each "Candidate" in "Every" election to know the local rules regarding where you can place election signs, so if any "Candidate" tells you that they can put their signs wherever they want, don't believe them! In fact some will say that if you take out their sign it is against the Law! So in saying that someone asked me what should they do if an election sign is put on their private property without their permission? I told them that if it was me I would take it out! That simple, and if I am arrested for it, So be It!

I am not saying here that there have been candidates in this Federal election that are doing this, but it is pretty close, you see it is just how your manipulate the rules. For an example, most of us that live rural have a buffer zone between our properties and the side of the road that is owned by the municipality, especially the farmers (easement). That is where some of the election signs are going up, and that is exactly what happened to the person that asked me the question.

Their are some people that will say, come on give it up, the election is only a few weeks. But it means far more than that to me. It has to do with "Credibility" and being "Accountable" for your actions.

When an individual is running in an election you will hear them promise many, many things. One of the promises that I have heard during this Federal election is "Credibility and Accountability", for me this is a very important promise. Some candidates back this up with their credentials, others just back this up with the promise that they will do what the other candidate has not done.

Back to the reason why I am writing this blog today. Yesterday we drove to Hamilton and I was floored at all the elections signs out there that are on Municipal property. One park in Dunnville right at the river was plastered with Gary McHale signs. I was quite angry with that one, as the people that were enjoying the park did not need to see "garbage" littered all over the park! Now before someone crucifies me for this comment, this was not a "personal" dig! If Hoskins or Nicolls had signs in the park I would have said the same thing.

Now I am not sure whether in Haldimand County our election sign placement is a bylaw or a policy, but does it make a difference? Do the rules always have to be "pushed" to the limit?

As we were driving down the River Rd. towards Hamilton, you could tell that there were a few candidates in the Dunnville area on Saturday, as the signs are plastered everywhere, that is everywhere on the side of the road, at intersections, on poles and even on the property of a closed business. There were only a few signs on "Private Property".

Now I can honestly say that I don't have a problem when a campaign worker puts up a few signs here and there, but the "plastering" of signs is not necessary, and is deliberately defying the rules in Haldimand and I am sure many other communities. Toronto was smart on this one, they jumped on the opportunity to make a few dollars for the taxpayers. All candidates in Toronto that want to place signs on city property can do so for a fee of $250.00. Smart move Toronto!

So back to my pet peeve. It seemed that everywhere there was a Liberal sign, there was an NDP sign and right beside was an Independent sign. Of course I am talking about signs placed where no one lives, so in saying that these signs were on Municipal property. In fact some signs where down right battling each other for the best angle. But I have to say that the signs in the Park in Dunnville really peeved me off!

These candidates that are breaking the local rules are basically in my opinion stating that they are not credible nor accountable even before they are elected. So for those of you that are going to the polls on October 14th, you might consider this: If the candidate cannot follow a simple rule before in office, how will they be once elected!

Well now that I have ranted, I do feel much better!


  1. Well, if there is a policy or a by-law against the placement of these signs in a park in Dunnville, where is the person responsible to have them taken down??? Someone must have this job if it is against policy or against a by-law.

  2. It looks like you pissed someone off Donna, good for you for saying what some are thinking.

    It is obvious that the person who posted this is working on one of the campaigns of the people you said had there signs on municipal property. I too have a pet peeve like you for this garbage. My reason is a bit different than yours. I am a taxpayer and I do not want anyone's election signs on municipal property. This is in a way saying that I support those that break the rules.

    If the person above had any inteligence they would already know that the county roads department are the ones that remove these signs. They won't usually remove them unless someone calls the county, and that is because they are busy doing their jobs, and should not have to stop to drive all over the county removing signs.

    I am sure that you are going to be accused of denying someone their rights to free speach, but this is just someone breaking the policy of Haldimand County. I have no respect for those that do.

  3. What is interesting about elections is the lack of governance and enforcement of the law, during municipal, provincial and federal elections.If you have a complaint( re signs being stolen, placed on your property without your permission and/or in front of polling stations etc)the complaint goes to the returning officer who forwards to the appropriate government officials in Toronto or Ottawa, who then are suppose to enforce? follow up?. After elections are over, the elections offices shrink. If you think it it hard to get the rules/laws enforced during elections, you can just imagine how hard it is to get something done between elections! I would suggest that an enforcement team is needed during elections to enforce the laws. Any laws not enforced, nor followed up after elections will cause an increase by all the parties to do whatever they want, if no one is going to stop them. I have seen signs almost at the front door of polling stations on election day. Signs have been stolen during elections. If signs did not influence voters they would not be used, nor would they be removed. We need election reform before and enforcement during/after elections.

  4. The first poster is very interesting.

    The fact of the matter here is we have candidates that don't follow the rules! Must it always be someone elses fault? Take responsibility for what is yours, not saying things like, Well, if there is a policy or a by-law against the placement of these signs in a park in Dunnville, where is the person responsible to have them taken down???

    These candidates need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

  5. Gary McHale as an Independent? Too bad we didn't have someone in Haldimand running as a candidate that was respectful, believable, accountable, reliable, not spendinga all theri time in court sueing everyone as though they are our hero. But then anyone with half a brain would know that an Independent here will not win! Let alone NcHale who has only proved that he has a big mouth!

  6. If these candidates are circumventing the rules for their own personal gain by ignoring election signage laws, what do you think the chances are that they will continue to circumvent rules for their own personal gain if they are elected? A leopard cannot change it's spots.

  7. The truth is that people will count how many signs are out there and assume that the one with the most signs is the one to vote for.

    I for one say that we need to take a look at the signs that are littering our roadsides and just smile. Maybe these candidates made a mistake and ordered too many signs, after all this is a waste of money if the signs are not out there isn't it?

    Donna is will get worse, we still have 8 days to go, and I will lay a bet that Gary McHale will have many signs left, and don't be surpised if he puts them up at the polls on election day. Of course he will make an excuse that he didn't know he couldn't do that.

    Maybe Gary McHale is not as smart as he makes out he is to people.

    What other reason would he have for not following the rules?

  8. Donna grow up and get a hobby, you are being very petty with this issue, don't you have something better to do with your time?

  9. My comment is two-part.

    1. Donna - "Thank You" again saying exactly what I am feeling lately with all the signs. Why are signs in front of a highschools, OPP office, abandoned homes, etc.... They state that they are allowed to put these signs on municipal property, when it is obvious they are not. Tells me that they do not care at all.

    2. To the first poster, the responsiblity of removing all the signs should be the campaign workers who put them up. My tax dollars are not going to the county workers to remove something that should not fall on them to clean up after.

    Thanks, Good Ranting Donna

  10. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    I am glad to hear that I am not the only one that has this "pet peeve".

    It really is simple to me, if a person is going to say one thing and do another, how credible is that person. So when I see candidates not following the local bylaws/policy on sign placement, I wonder if that candidate who has promised to be accountable if elected will actually hold up their end of the promise.

    Only "You" can be the judge of that one!

  11. One only has to look and see where this is coming from. The NDP, Liberals and the Independent here in Haldimand seem to think the race is between them. Won't they be surprised when Finley wins her seat again. I for one hope she does, as I do not see any other candidate doing any better than what she has done in the last 2.5 years.

  12. Donna the way I see it is that McHale will not get that many votes. He has a lot of signs out there but who owns those signs? The municipality does. So for each sign that McHale has out there that is on municipal owned land is a "no vote" for McHale. I hope he is not counting.

  13. Thanks again for your comments.

    I had an interesting conversation with Councillor Grice this morning about Haldimand County's "Policy" on the signs. I will have a post ready later tonight as Grice made some very good points of why this is a "Policy" and not a "bylaw".

    By the way for those that were not aware, Councillor Grice wrote this policy when he was on Council in 1994

  14. "These candidates that are breaking the local rules "

    Question: If there is no "bylaw" then what rule was being broken? You make a big deal about this and it turns out there is no rule.

    What does this say about your credibility?

  15. On Thursday, October 2, 2008, I went to the All Candidates Debate in Dunnville. I would like to take a minute to give my impressions of the candidates.

    The Conservative Party candidate, Diane Finley, was not in attendance. I think this sums up exactly what she stands for. The comment was made by the Christian Heritage Party candidate that he was sure she had a good reason; however, she did not deem us important enough to give that reason to.

    The Christian Heritage Party candidate, Steve Elgersma, seems to be a good man with strong convictions, but he is a little to extreme to earn my vote.

    The Green Part has a very progressive platform. Although the party leader, Ms. May, did an excellent job in the Leaders Debate, our local candidate, Stephana Johnston, was not prepared for our local debate and although sincere, I fear is not ready to represent us in Ottawa.

    The Liberal Party candidate, Dr. Eric Hoskins, is a great representative of his party and was by far the best politician at the debate. However, outside the Liberal Party Platform, he presented no ideas of his own. And like a good politician, he flip-flopped on many issues. For example, he said that he wants to see more development in Haldimand and he stands for saving farm land. Forgive me if I am being dense, but I don’t understand how you can have it both ways.

    Dr. Hoskins did make a very valid point about independent Gary McHale. If you support Mr. McHale’s efforts in Caledonia, don’t send him away to Ottawa with your vote. Keep him here, working for his cause, drawing attention to Caledonia’s concerns in a way that no politician, independent or otherwise, can.

    These conclusions leave, for me, only one option and one candidate – NDP candidate Ian Nichols. He was very well prepared for the debate. He understands his party’s platform, but is not blinded by it to the point that he forgets about his local constituents’ concerns.

    Unlike what Dr. Hoskins said in his closing statements (a very unprofessional comment, I might add), a vote for the NDP is not a vote for Finley. A vote for Ian Nichols is a vote for the people. For a Party Leader with the people at heart.

    We aren’t happy with Finley. We are not impressed with the Liberals. But we are NOT America. We are NOT a two party system. Don’t throw your vote away by voting for someone you don’t believe in to stop someone you don’t believe in from getting elected. There is an alternative, and the majority WANTS an alternative. I know who I am voting for.

  16. A campaign sign on municipal, provinicial or federal property is not the expression of anyone' s opinion and therefore is meaningless.

    And when a sign is stuck into publicly owned land beside a field of crops or on a corner near a business, people might believe that property owner is endorsing that candidate.

    If one wants to conduct a more MEANINGFUL sign count, look at direct placement on private properties to measure public support for a particular candidate but remember they may change their mind behind the cardboard voting booth on Oct. 14.

    Think for yourself. Decide. VOTE

  17. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    One last comment about signs that really scares me. I spoke to someone the other day that said they will count the signs for each candidate on the way to the polls, the one who has the most gets my vote!

    Please don't do this. Most of the signs are "not" on private property. And even for those that are, like my neighbour down the road, he has a sign but "is not" voting for him. I don't quite understand this, but nevertheless that is the way it is.

    "Make Your Vote Count"