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Getting rid of the blight of election signs

September 21, 2016 4:27 A.M.
Get rid of the blight of election signs.

SOME PEOPLE don't think this is a big deal, but we see it as refreshing and progressive.

They're into a municipal election campaign in Halifax, which ordinarily isn't on the radar screen at this end of the country. Except for the fact the incumbent mayor Mike Savage and his only rival, Lil McPherson have come together and issued a joint release promising each will forgo the traditional lawn signs in favour of other forms of advertising.

The two believe it's the first time in the country lawn signs won't be used in a contested mayoralty, and go on to say the agreement is consistent with the city's reputation for being a leader on environmental issues.

This has caught our attention because in virtually every civic, provincial and federal election, every street corner, boulevard, and lawn, we have a clutter of signage. And the candidates have this mistaken impression that if their signs outnumber those of their competitors, it will give them an electoral edge.

What it does is create an eyesore, which is intolerable, even for a short campaign period.

There are enough alternate means of effective advertising that its time to dispense with the Neanderthal approach. To play on an expression by the Prime Minister, why get rid of lawn signs.... "Because its 2016."

Most politicians claim to be environmentally conscious, and here's one tangible way they can demonstrate that. We know its hard to break with tradition, but at least we can hope they're paying attention to what's going on in Halifax, and make that a welcome trend in the rest of the country.

Listen to Jim Harrison's editorials weekdays on Radio NL, and to the Jim Harrison Show at 9:08 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact him at

Denis Walsh says:
September 25, 2016 11:26am

Well Jim it looks like just maybe, possibly, perhaps, pigs can fly, after years of disbelief.
I totally agree wth you.

It will be "Because it's 2018" when we have the next civic election, and it is clearly time to move beyond this outdated tradition. The need for this more affordable mode of campaign has passed. It is time to end this once respectable tradition, as it has morphed into a new phenomenon resembling a form of sign wars, which erupt consistently every election and appear to be getting more and more excessive with every civic election. Yes, I admit my participation in this competitive out-of-control mess, in the past. It is time to recognize this degraded practice and create a new tradition.

Often the signs on public lands & boulevards are most effective among those uninformed voters who have not followed local politics closely. You may have a lot of money, but not a lot of support, and excessive lawn signs on public lands allows you the opportunity to manipulate the impression of support and possibly mislead voters to the true level of support.

These signs that dot the landscape every civic election, however temporary, are indeed a blight on our landscape and they are also an environmental calamity. We could limit the number but I would prefer we eliminate them altogether on all public lands, intersections & boulevards within city boundaries.
What residents choose to do on their own private property is their business, as signs placed on front lawns leave a more accurate impression of public support than those on public lands.

With the outstanding reach of all the social media platforms these days, there is no longer a justification for this clutter and visual pollution during every civic election cycle. Hopefully someone of the same opinion will request a delegation to present this viewpoint to Council, to help resolve this issue, before the next civic election.


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Grouchy 1 says:
September 21, 2016 09:35am

On this issue, I agree with you 100%.


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