Should election signs be allowed on public proprty? Response to Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen
Dear Editor, Ottawa Citizen:
Andrew Duffy's article in the August 20, 2015 Ottawa Citizen "Should election signs be allowed on public property" unfortunately misleads readers by not including such basic information as the Supreme Court decisions on this matter, which has shaped how elections signs can access public property. While municipalities have the legal authority to regulate signs on public property within their boundaries, they cannot ban them outright, as the Supreme Court has ruled that such bans unreasonably infringe on the constitutional right of Canadians to freedom of expression.
Section 2 of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. Obviously an election is the prime time for political expression, like it or no. While there are reasonable limits to this (time allowed for signs, size of signs, not obstructing traffic, etc.) it is a matter of right for anyone who chooses to express themselves. Mr. Duffy's article, by asking if election signs should be banned, is suggesting that this right of expression can be curtailed. The answer is no, Mr. Duffy, it is sign of a healthy democracy. Just ask the Supreme Court.
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