A Letter To The Editor
I’ve always seen Campaign lawn signs on our streets as a blemish on the landscape, not to mention a waste of resources (both financial and natural). While they have become necessary, it’s great to see the City of Kingston limiting the waste.
Thursday, 11 June 2019
Dear Sir or Madam,
Re: “New election sign ban called ‘affront to democracy’ ” – July 10.
Kingston City Council has approved the revision of a city bylaw which will now ban election signs on public property.
The universe is expanding, and in Kingston, the reactionary hyperbole made its appearance like an exploding star in the night sky. No telescope was necessary; it could be easily observed with the naked eye. The overstatement of some was enough to make an astrophysicist blush.
I first learned the news from a tweet by Councillor Robert Kiley (District 6 – Trillium District) (Twitter @robert_kiley) late Tuesday night, which began with an eye-catching: “YAHOO!” I immediately (and happily) retweeted it with a supporting comment. (Twitter @AndyBrookeLmstn )
As a federal candidate in the 2015 campaign – and, as a candidate in this upcoming 2019 campaign for Member of Parliament – I have always viewed signs on our streets as a blemish on the landscape, not to mention a waste of resources (both financial and natural). I now find my thoughts naturally turning back to the declaration of a climate emergency in the City of Kingston on March 5. This is one type of (corrugated) plastic that I am delighted will now be banished from our electoral landscape in The Limestone City, Canada’s First Capital.
In this age of “big data” campaigns, how effective (or necessary) are political signs anyway? In the world of these campaigns – and in particular political signs – there is an unadmitted game of scale. Bigger (or as some campaigns prefer, ‘[The] Biggest’) signs ferociously jockeying for the best positioning at key traffic intersections and other prime locations. In my humble view, as for name ID, messaging or really anything else (including ‘Get Out The Vote’), they don’t accomplish diddly-squat. They’re placed there by the campaigns and that’s the limit of what they signify. They really don’t amount to a hill of beans. Allow me to be blunt here: ‘Campaign signs don’t vote.’
Yard signs on private property, however – and which have been exempted by City Council – will still have their place (i.e. drawing attention, providing name recognition, supporting the messaging of a campaign, etc.) and make no mistake, yard signage DOES say something. It’s only in place because a voter has explicitly requested it to be installed and on their private property.
Candidates who would have subscribed to or worse, relied upon “Biggest Signs, Best Locations” and/or, “Let My Signs Do The Talking”, will find now themselves having to recalibrate their campaign strategies. In my view, the future of campaigns in Kingston is bright. Candidates will now wear through more shoes and use more sunblock (good for the local economy), lose unwanted weight/inches (good for healthcare) and hewn their interrelationship skills (good for democracy) as they meet the voter where it really counts, at their doorsteps. This is where the truly meaningful, nuanced and necessary conversations take place.
I’ll be seeing y’all on the campaign trail.
Andrew (“Andy”) BROOKE
This letter to the editor was sent to the Whig Standard and to date has not been printed.