Update (June 12): The City of Toronto has told Spacing that it does not intend to enforce the signs by-law as it pertains to video screens at gas stations because the current law, it says, needs to be clarified and harmonized across the city. A new signs by-law is in the process of development and the gas station video screen issue may be resolved within that process, the spokesperson said.
Update (5:50PM): The Conservative Party of Canada’s Ryan Sparrow has informed Spacing that the Conservative Party of Canada believes that the sole responsibility for advertising locations rests with the CPC advertising agency Fuelcast. When asked if the governing party feels a greater responsibility to ensure that it abides by the law because of its position of power, Sparrow repeated the above sentiment. After additional questions also resulted in the same answer, Spacing thanked Sparrow for his time.
Oh, the irony.
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have tried over and over to brand itself the chief defender of law and order in this country. But yesterday, when it launched its latest round of attack ads on the Liberals, the Conservative Party used illegal advertising space to get its message out, according to the co-ordinator of IllegalSigns.ca.
The Conservatives didn’t just use a single illegal video screen to play the fiercely partisan advertisement. IllegalSigns.ca co-ordinator Rami Tabello told Spacing that every single screen that the spot is playing on at Toronto gas stations is illegal. According to media reports, gas station video screens are the primary vehicle for reaching Torontonians.
But gas station video screens are off limits.
In January, Councillor Howard Moscoe, with the help of IllegalSigns.ca, headed off an attempt by City of Toronto staff to legalize video screens at gas stations that have a total area that is no greater than 0.2 square meters (that’s the standard video screen size) without requiring a permit. Councillor Moscoe had the report that recommended legalization referred back to staff for more consideration and gave staff a directive to consult with public space activists.
To this point, City staff haven’t come back with another proposal so Tabello says they video screens have to be shut off.
Photograph by ItzaFineDay.