Home Election Tracker Canadian Federal 2021 or beyond Digital-era roadside election signage during COVID

Digital-era roadside election signage during COVID

Size matters, and placement too. | Defacing of signage is condemned by candidates.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 | COLWOOD, BC

by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends


We’re all so used to receiving much or most of our new information digitally nowadays — whether by phone or text, social media, livestream, Zoom calls. There’s also TV and radio, formats which are instantaneous if one engages.

So why the continued popularity of roadside signs that are plunked into lawns and boulevards during election campaigns?

Because there is still a 3D-reality! And people do get out and about.

campaign sign, laura frost
Large roadside signage is already up around the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding. [Island Social Trends – August 2021]

Comforting during COVID:

Especially during COVID, the use of poster-board signs — staked and hammered into the ground — seems in itself to have a grounding and reassuring impact. In a world where so much is changing so quickly, the permanence of a sign that someone pushed into the ground is somehow comforting.

The remaining three weeks of the 44th federal election campaign will probably bear this out. In fact, the roadside signage seems to have (at least for some candidates, in some ridings) gone up earlier in the campaign than in previous years.

As there is sometimes damage (by weather or willful act), there will probably be even more roadside signage in the remaining three weeks of the federal campaign (election day is September 20).

The prevalence of signage in this ‘unwanted summer election’ (as all parties other than the Liberals have put it, in one way or another) also presumes that people are out and about during COVID. This in itself feels triumphant, after 20 months of a series of rotating realities of being stuck at home, away from the office, or not heading quite so much to the store or the mall.

Damage to signs:

Recently some damage to some signage by the Liberal candidate in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke (ESS) garnered media attention. One of the big red Liberal signs for that riding’s candidate, Doug Kobayashi, was defaced with markings (specifically swastikas).

kobayashi, signage
The Liberal candidate in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke is Doug Kobayashi. [web]

Kobayashi himself says he’s developed a thick skin regarding comments about his Japanese-Canadian heritage over the years, but that this crossed a line into a type of hate that our society today does not tolerate.

“Our country is facing enormous challenges in the years ahead, and our campaign would much rather focus on the issues and engaging people in meaningful conversations,” said Kobayashi in a release to media on August 27.  

An attack on democracy:

Even candidates from other parties — including Randall Garrison who is the NDP incumbent in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke — expressed his concern.

randall garrison, signage
Lawn signs were used for directional signage at the Randall Garrison campaign kickoff on August 28, 2021 in Saanich. [Island Social Trends]

“I condemn the defacement of signs and of disruptions of campaign events. These acts constitute not only an attack on an individual candidate and their campaign, but they are also an attack on democracy,” said Garrison, referring not only to the Liberal signage defacement but also the vulgar protester actions at Liberal campaign events for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau recently in Ontario.

“We can and must do better to combat the rise of hate in Canada,” says Garrison, who has been the Member of Parliament for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke since 2011.

About Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke:

Both Kobayashi and Garrison live in the Colwood area which is within the large Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding which stretches from near the Gorge in Saanich, through Colwood, includes Metchosin and Sooke, and out to the Jordan River area in Juan de Fuca (west of Sooke).

The population of that large geographical footprint (404 sq km) is listed by Elections Canada as 120,834, with the number of electors listed as 101,934.

esquimalt-saanich-sooke, map
Federal riding of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke [Elections Canada, 2021]

The Green Party candidate in ESS is Harley Gordon and the Conservative candidate is Laura Frost. The People’s Party of Canada candidate is Rob Anderson, an the Community Party of Canada candidate is Tyson Strandlund.

Randall Garrison, re-elect

===== RELATED:

Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Island Social Trends editor Mary P Brooke is covering several of the south Vancouver Island ridings during #Elxn44.

Insights: Elections Canada is dropping the ball (August 30, 2021)

Randall Garrison: outdoor campaign kickoff for 4th term (August 29, 2021)

Elxn44: Elections Canada not offering on-campus voting (August 26, 2021)

Some seniors toughing out GIS clawback during election (August 16, 2021)

Canada’s election is on for September 20 (August 15, 2021)

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