Green Party candidate Ellen Michelson has decided not to put up campaign signs in public spaces throughout her riding of Toronto Centre. â€œPublic space is everyone’sâ€, she says, and she feels uncomfortable altering that space without any kind of agreement process. Instead she thinks that campaign volunteers who go door-to-door get the Green message across, along with information that can be found on the Internet.
Rami Tabello of illegalsigns.ca (who was profiled in the Summer/Fall issue of Spacing) disagrees completely with Michelson, however, calling her “completely misguided.” Tabello says the system for placing signs on the public road allowance is an important part of Toronto’s democracy and suggests that perhaps the Toronto Centre candidate just can’t afford the signs. Michelson says not placing signs on public property is part of the Green Party’s philosophy of â€œbuilding consensus about our community.â€
Under the Toronto Municipal Code, election signs on public property can be posted as long as the person posting the signs pays a refundable $250 deposit to the city. This, partnered with very specific rules [PDF] on the placement of the signs, is already far too strict according to Tabello.
â€œSigns need monitoring,â€ Michelson counters. â€œPeople who post signs in public places can’t always monitor their condition.â€ Campaign signs placed on private property, also known as “bag signs”, are completely recyclable. Michelson even mentioned a case of carrying items to her campaign office in the upside-down bag of her own sign. And the wire part, she says, can be used for gardening.
photo by Lone Primate