Vandalizing election signs is a crime

Election season has begun, and that means federal candidates have planted their signs far and wide.

Election season has begun, and that means federal candidates have planted their signs far and wide. The election is Oct. 19, so that means the signs will be up for the next 10 weeks.

Vandalism to the election signs has been a problem in the past, but so far this year, Cranbrook RCMP have not had any reports on the matter.

Staff Sgt. Dave Dubnyk said they haven’t heard of any problems with the signs yet, and added that messing with the signs is a crime.

“Under the criminal code it’s considered mischief to personal property,” Dubnyk said. “So if we were able to determine who was responsible, we could pursue charges against them.”

Section 325 of the Canada Elections Act says that no one may interfere with the transmission of a election advertising, such as an election sign. However there are a few exceptions. For instance, government agencies may remove signs that do not respect provincial or municipal laws, after informing the person who authorized the posting of the sign that they plan to remove it. Additionally, if the sign is a safety hazard, government agencies may remove it without informing the person who authorized the posting of the sign.

There are also rules on election sign placement, set out by Elections Canada through the Canada Elections Act. Some of the rules apply to private property and some to public property.

For areas like apartments and condominiums on private property, property owners don’t have the right to prevent tenants from putting up elections signs on premised they lease in a building. Condominium corporations also don’t have the right to prevent condo owners from putting up signs on units they own. However, the property owners and condominium corporations have the right to set reasonable conditions on the size and type of sign, as well as to prohibit signs in common areas, both indoors and outdoors.

If signs are placed on your property without your permission, the election act doesn’t prevent you from removing them. You can also contact the candidate or registered party and tell them you didn’t request the sign, and ask them to remove it.

If you are not sure whether the sign is on private or public property, check with the municipality or other government agency.