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Milton council defers decision on banning election signs on public roadways
Oct. 5, 2021

After a lengthy debate, Milton council voted to defer the decision on banning election signs on public roadways until staff review the amended proposal.

The original motion, put forth by Coun. Zeeshan Hamid, cites numerous reasons for the proposed ban, including stopping election sign pollution and leveling the playing field for candidates, as well as reducing costs related to bylaw enforcement.

He noted that the public is “overwhelmingly” in support of the motion, referring to a poll on a popular local Facebook group -- while Coun. Colin Best said that election signs placed at intersections, as he had seen in previous elections, posed a significant safety hazard.

Those who opposed the ban argued that the ban would be unfair to new candidates and limit their ability to build name recognition.

“I do not believe that seeing signs for 45 days every four years is too great a sacrifice to ensure that our elections are conducted in as fair and equal manner as possible,” Coun. Rick Malboeuf said at the Oct. 4 meeting, adding that the town already has a bylaw that controls election signs.

A concern was also raised about the legality of such a move, though Best said that the Halton Region already banned election signs on regional roads to no issue and objection. Neighbouring municipalities like Burlington, Brampton and Mississauga have also prohibited the use of election signs on public properties.

In opposing the ban, Coun. Mike Cluett said election signs are part of the democratic process. He suggested having staff look into dedicated zones for election signs in each of the wards in Milton with strict limits.

That -- along with asking staff to review legal considerations for the prohibition of placement of election signs on public property -- was part of his amendment to the motion, which passed by a vote of 7-2.