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LETTER: Canmore election signage bylaw 'concerning', could aid incumbents

LETTER: If you feel the same way, I urge you to attend the scheduled public hearing on July 2 and make your voice known.


I am writing to voice my concerns regarding the proposed political campaign sign bylaw being considered by Canmore council. This bylaw, which restricts the placement of political campaign signs to private property, poses significant issues related to our local democratic processes and constitutional freedoms.

Firstly, this bylaw potentially infringes upon the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically Section 2(b), which guarantees freedom of expression. Political signs are a crucial medium for candidates to communicate their messages and increase their visibility. Limiting their placement to private properties restricts this form of expression, which is vital for a healthy democratic process.

Moreover, the only legal justification for this bylaw based on the Municipal Government Act can be for the safety, health and welfare of people and the protection of people and property. This rationale seems highly wanting when weighed against the democratic implications and add to that the size of the proposed fines, it is clearly massively disproportionate. Studies have shown political signs play an essential role in increasing candidate name recognition and encouraging voter participation. 

Additionally, restricting campaign signs to private property disproportionately benefits incumbents and well-known candidates, further entrenching their positions of power. This limits the opportunities for new and lesser-known candidates to gain visibility and connect with voters, undermining the fairness of our electoral process.

It is concerning that such a bylaw might be perceived as a measure to protect current council members by reducing the visibility of their challengers. Ensuring fair and free elections should be a priority, and any regulations that potentially skew the playing field must be carefully scrutinized.

I urge the Town council to reconsider the implications of this bylaw and to prioritize the principles of free expression and democratic fairness. I also encourage my fellow citizens to be aware of these issues and to hold our elected representatives accountable. As such, I will not support any councillor who votes in favour of this bylaw.

If you feel the same way, I urge you to attend the scheduled public hearing on July 2 and make your voice known. Unfortunately, when most people will conveniently be away on holiday.

Bruce Eidsvik,


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