On May 18, the campaign team for Harinder Malhi, who is running for re-election in the newly formed riding of Brampton North, discovered that an unknown party had gathered lawn signs and dumped them in a field in King City (a town in the northern part of York Region).
Bringing our stolen Campaign lawn signs back home to #BramptonNorth from an empty field in King City. Whoever brought them here is interfering with democracy and the hard work of volunteers. That's not the way we roll at @OntLiberal #brampoli #onelxn pic.twitter.com/jhGHqr6Cf6
— Harinder Malhi (@Harindermalhi) May 19, 2018
It is not known how Malhi’s team discovered the dumped signs’ location.
Provincial election campaigns are sometimes fierce, and it’s not unheard of for people not officially associated with a campaign to use tactics such as defacing or removing election signs of candidates that they disapprove of.
While there aren’t explicit rules laid out in the Elections Act, it’s generally seen as a bad practice. Elections Ontario has fined people and parties in the past for defacing or stealing signs, and the theft and dumping could count as “interference” under the elections legislation.
At the very least, something like the above could count as littering or dumping, which, in King City, carries a fine of at least $100 to a maximum of $50,000 for a first offence.
Election signs must be placed on private property with the permission of the homeowner and as such, generally can’t be removed without their permission, except for when voting day has passed. Lawn signs are not allowed on public property in the City of Brampton.
If you suspect your sign has been stolen, or a sign has been illegally placed, it would be wise to contact the party on the sign. Complaints about illegally placed election signage on either public or private property can be reported to the city’s by-law enforcement team by calling 311 or submitting a complaint on the city’s website.