Black Press file image

Black Press file image

Reports of election sign vandalism in Greater Trail

Elections Canada has no jurisdiction to deal with sign vandalism

Election campaigns can sometimes bring out the worst in people.

On the home front this is evidenced by the fact that Trail police have been fielding numerous calls about sign vandalism.

“The Trail and Greater District RCMP is receiving complaints about tampering with election signs which included moving, covering, and vandalizing signs,” Sgt. Mike Wicentowich confirmed.

With six candidates running in South Okanagan-West Kootenay, election signage will be dotting the landscape leading up to the vote on Oct. 21.

Thus, Wicentowich asks anyone who witnesses this type of activity to contact the Trail detachment at 250-364-2566.

While Elections Canada has no jurisdiction to deal with signs that are destroyed, removed or stolen, the organization advises candidates to notify local police, as destruction of private property is a criminal offence; and/or send a complaint in writing to the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

As far as content, the Canada Elections Act does not regulate the content of campaign signs.

However, all partisan and election advertising messages, including campaign signs, must contain a “tagline” stating who has authorized the message.

A candidate’s or political party’s official agent must authorize candidate signs. If the advertising was placed by a third party, it must include the third party’s name, telephone number, and physical or Internet address.

The Canada Elections Act does not regulate or prohibit displaying campaign signs outside a federal election period. However, provincial or municipal laws may regulate campaign signs placed on public or private property before or during an election period.

In the City of Trail, for example, a political sign may be installed in any zone up to 30 days prior to a municipal, provincial, federal or school board election or referendum. Signs are not permitted on municipal parklands, on/or adjacent to city-owned or occupied buildings, or in locations that may cause a traffic or pedestrian hazard.

Political signs must be removed within seven days of said election.