Posted on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 4 p.m.
New rules for election signs in Russell Township
Candidates for seats on Russell Township council may be able to post their campaign signs along public roads around the township under certain conditions.
Township council approved a revision to the section of the municipal signage bylaw which deals with election campaign signs.
The revision was sparked by Mayor Pierre Leroux’s desire to avoid “a media circus” over a threat by legal counsel for Charles Armstrong (see photo), one of the mayoral candidates of a possible court injunction against the township concerning revisions earlier this year to the bylaw. Those revisions had restricted election campaign signage to private property and banned it from public roadsides.
“I don’t want to waste taxpayers’ money,” said Leroux during an interview August 29 at the United Counties of Prescott Russell session (UCPR). Leroux had asked for and got agreement from counties council to ignore a previous request from Russell Township for revision of the UCPR signage bylaw to forbid election campaign signage along county roads.
Armstrong stated during an interview that "there was no legal suit, as such", but that his attorney had sent letters to both the town ship and the counties stating that the election signage restrictions in the bylaw "were not constitutional, and if they did not reverse them, we would challenge them in court."
"This is a win for democracy," said Armstrong, regarding the decisions of both the township and counties council against an outright ban of election ads along public roads. "The use of electoral signs is effective and encourages participation in democracy."
The new revision to the township’s signage bylaw was passed during the September 4 council session. Instead of limiting election campaign signs to private property, the bylaw now includes a list of conditions for election signage where public property and roads are involved.