New speed-display signs feature Ottawa councillors' names

New speed signs popping up around Ottawa feature a digital screen showing passing drivers how fast they're going along with a messages from the councillor of the ward.

Councillors must cover their names when the 60-day pre-election advertising rules come into effect

Some candidates argue speed-display signs featuring the names of councillors is an unfair advantage ahead of October's municipal election. 2:22
New speed signs popping up around Ottawa feature a digital screen showing passing drivers how fast they're going — along with messages from the councillor of the ward.
Speed-display signs are popping up in Ottawa featuring the names of city councillors. (CBC)

City of Ottawa solicitor Rick O'Connor said speed-display signs can be marked with a councillor's name and title if it is purchased by that member's office budget. He said such signs have been purchased in 15 of Ottawa's 23 wards.

"In short, the member’s name is not there as advertising, but appears because the signs, speed guns and/or other related materials are funded from the constituency services budget of that particular councillor, who is offering services above and beyond what is provided through the city’s regular operations," he said in an email.

"Displaying the member’s name also indicates that the materials are not part of the city’s regular operations, and helps to explain why the items are present in some wards and not others."

Councillors must remove the displays — or at least cover their names — 60 days before the Oct. 27 municipal election. O’Connor said that’s because election rules dictate that corporate resources and member budgets cannot be used for any sort of advertisements, flyers or newsletters in the two-month period leading up to an election.

Following the election, the displays will remain in the wards they're in now, whether the councillor wins re-election or not.

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