Limiting campaign signage is right on the mark

Two & Out
By James Peters
March 31, 2017 - 3:00pm

KAMLOOPS — With a bylaw that will take effect for the upcoming provincial election, the City of Quesnel is setting an example for everywhere in this province, including Kamloops.

Quesnel is limiting the number of campaign signs it allows on public land to six.

Not six per parcel of public property, but six in total, for the entire city.

Rarely has a municipal bylaw so accurately hit the bull's eye that it should be emulated by an entire province.

Here in Kamloops, the city designates certain areas of public land where campaign signage is allowed.

Other than that, restrictions are few.

Candidates are free to print off and set up as many signs as their budgets allow, and as many as their campaign volunteers can pound into the ground.

As has been argued in this space before, campaign signage amounts to little more than visual pollution.

A political science instructor at UNBC says signage is essential to the democratic process, and municipalities shouldn't take action that could potentially decrease the already dismal turnout on voting day.

In reality, the signage does little more than make people more annoyed and angry at the province's political climate than they already are.

And many more avenues have arisen in recent years for candidates to get their names out there.

If they don't have websites and accounts on multiple social media platforms, that will do far more to hurt their chances than losing some of their boulevard signage.

Once again, political signs are blunt instruments in a society in desperate need of precision ideas and sharp debate.

In this province especially, they obscure far more than they enlighten.

Put a strict limit on signage, and let candidates win based on merits, not on the voter's reaction to their visual pollution.