CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Liberal MLA Hal Perry has halted a vote on a invoice he launched, which might have severely restricted using marketing campaign signage in provincial elections.
Talking earlier than the non-public member’s invoice after an hour of debate on Nov. 16, Perry informed the legislature he believed an modification, launched by a Inexperienced MLA, rendered his invoice “severely compromised.”
Perry’s adjournment of debate abruptly stopped dialogue of the invoice earlier than a vote may happen.
Perry’s private member’s bill aimed to restrict the variety of giant indicators utilized by every provincial candidate to not more than 5 whereas capping the variety of election garden indicators at 50.
The invoice would additionally maintain campaigners from placing up election signage in freeway medians, on centre parts of freeway roundabouts and in parks or playgrounds.
Those who contravened these provisions would face fines of between $500 and $2,000.
Talking to SaltWire Community on Nov. 10, Perry stated the invoice was motivated by considerations about public security and the environmental influence of plastic waste.
Perry stated he has noticed a pileup of signage throughout byelections lately round intersections and roundabouts, which he stated obscures the visibility of oncoming visitors.
“I’ve counted over 50 indicators at one intersection at one time,” Perry stated. “There was four-by-eight indicators that have been really in the course of roundabouts. So, I believed that was a public security situation.”
Perry additionally stated most indicators find yourself in landfills after the election season is over.
“It is 2022. We have now different technique of getting our message on the market to (make) every candidate recognized to their district, their constituents,” Perry stated.
The invoice would apply solely to provincial elections in P.E.I., that means marketing campaign signage would nonetheless be permitted throughout municipal and federal elections.
Perry stated he doesn’t know of any jurisdiction in Canada that has restricted election signage.
Throughout a Nov. 9 debate on the invoice, two Inexperienced MLAs – Karla Bernard and Ole Hammarlund — disputed Perry’s declare that the invoice addressed a major environmental concern.
Colton Profitt, director of legislative affairs for the Liberal caucus, stated a recycling marketing campaign centered on election signage in York, Ont. between 2006 and 2015 collected 4,080 kilograms of election signage.
Profitt additionally stated info on the environmental influence of signage waste was restricted.
“This isn’t an environmental invoice, in my thoughts,” Bernard stated. “The place my concern lies is this can be a invoice that’s going to have unintended penalties.”
Bernard stated seniors in P.E.I., who might have restricted entry to the web could also be detrimentally impacted by election signal restrictions.
Profitt stated election signage didn’t improve voter turnout through the latest municipal elections in P.E.I. Profitt additionally stated he believed candidates can get their message out by way of different means, comparable to print or radio commercials and social media.
“We have to have a look at what profit is it offering. Proper now, the profit just isn’t voter turnout for election signage,” Profitt stated. “I believe it additionally places a little bit little bit of onus on the candidates to get on the market and make their face recognized.”
Perry stated he was stunned to listen to Bernard query the environmental advantages of the invoice.
On Nov. 16, Inexperienced MLA Lynne Lund launched an modification that exempted residential properties from the capped variety of garden indicators.
Lund stated she launched the modification as a result of she believed the invoice may in any other case restrict the liberty of expression of people.
“Whereas I completely respect the spirit and intent of not having greater than 50 indicators out on most important streets, I completely wish to see us permit individuals to take action on their very own yards.”
Regardless of Perry’s vocal opposition to this modification, it handed by a vote of 12 to 7.
Perry claimed Inexperienced MLAs have been “advocating for extra indicators.”
Somebody from the Inexperienced bench may very well be heard saying the phrases “small minds” after Perry’s feedback.
“I’m making an attempt to place us all on a degree enjoying area. I got here right here with good religion to advertise this invoice. I consider the integrity of this invoice that I put ahead has been severely compromised,” he stated. “I cannot permit this invoice to be destroyed and the aim behind it. So, subsequently, I’m going to ask that the controversy be adjourned.”
The talk ended with Perry angrily confronting Inexperienced MLA Hannah Bell on the ground of the legislature.
“Oh Hal, develop up,” Bell stated.
It’s unclear if the Liberals will reintroduce the Election Signage Act for debate.
Stu Neatby is a political reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He might be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @stu_neatby.