NDP supporter pulls up Liberal signs in Halifax Needham byelection
An NDP supporter who worked on Gary Burrill’s leadership campaign pulled up multiple Liberal party signs in the byelection’s first week, according to a social media post.
Ken Clare wrote on Facebook that he pulled up seven signs from Liberal candidate Rod Wilson.
“I don’t mind taking those signs down for you — I have done so with 7 of your signs from public property already,” Clare wrote in a comment on Wilson’s campaign Facebook page.
Clare goes on to say that he believes it’s illegal to put signs in public areas, but either way he doesn’t think they should be put on public property.
“These signs encourage general sign-junk (commercial signs, etc.) in public spaces, which I hope you see is antithetical to community interests. Cut it out!”
A Halifax spokesperson says campaign signs are allowed on some public property after a writ is dropped. The municipality says it has not come across any byelection signs that are illegally placed.
In an emailed statement, Wilson’s campaign manager Lisa Fougere said having signs stolen and damaged is disappointing and she’s never seen a case like this.
“What makes this situation so unique is how brazen this individual has been about his actions on social media,” Fougere said. “He’s obviously quite close with the NDP leader and he’s someone who should know better than to be participating in this type of bad behaviour.”
According to pictures and posts on Facebook, Clare worked on Burrill’s leadership team and is a strong supporter. However, other than being a party member, the NDP says Clare has no role with the party or the byelection campaign.
NDP provincial secretary Mike Poworoznyk said in an email the party “does not support any interference with election signs.”
Global News reached out to Clare but he didn’t respond before deadline.
High number of missing and damaged signs: Liberals
The Liberal party says dozens of signs put along streets were either defaced or went missing in the last two weeks.
In the campaign’s first two weeks, 62 signs were put on streets and sidewalks where municipal bylaws allow. The Liberals said only 10n were left standing at the end of the week. The campaign says more were put up but another 10 have gone missing this week.
Fougere said a certain level of vandalism is expected during a campaign but the levels during this byelection are “large and out of the ordinary.”
The campaign has filed a complaint with Halifax Regional Police. HRP spokesperson Wendy Mansfield says there are no leads on the complaint but officers who patrol the area are aware of the issue.
None of the other major parties say they’ve had any issues with signs being removed or defaced.
Where are election signs allowed?
Municipal bylaws govern where campaign signs can be placed in a region.
Halifax spokesperson Tiffany Chase said in addition to private property, signs are allowed on municipal right-of-ways — which includes sidewalks, roads, and grassy medians in between.
Chase said if residents are concerned about signs and where they are placed, they should call 311 or the police instead of removing the signs themselves.
Removing or defacing election signs can lead to charges of mischief, theft, or possession of stolen property, Mansfield said.
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