'F--k Harper' sign in car earns Edmonton man $543 fine

An Edmonton man was given a $543 ticket for refusing to remove a sign from the back window of his car that says “F--k Harper.”

Rob Wells says removing sign would violate his right to free expression

In this photo, which has been altered by CBC News, the profane sign that earned Rob Wells of Edmonton a $543 fine is seen in the rear window of his car. (CBC)

An Edmonton man was given a $543 ticket for refusing to remove a sign from the back window of his car that says "F--k Harper."

Rob Wells was stopped by RCMP in Leduc, south of Edmonton, because they deemed his large, hot-pink sign a distraction to other drivers. He was fined when he refused to take it down.

Rob Wells says the sign expresses his feeling about Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and his government. (CBC )
While Wells admits the sign's language isn't appropriate, he says removing it would violate his right to free expression.

He says the sign shows his feelings about Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and his government.

"I want to express my complete disdain for the conduct of the Harper government and that's the only way I know to do it," he said.

"I'll gladly pay that $543 if I have to in order to express my rights in a free and democratic society."

John Carpay, lawyer and president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, said the fine could set a dangerous precedent, as it would make it easier for police to hand out similar tickets in the future.

"Obscenity and profanity do have a degrading and debasing effect on society," he said.

"It's something that should be discouraged, but it should be discouraged by citizens, not by the raw use of state power in the form of a $500  ticket."

Wells is fighting his ticket. He plans to plead not guilty when his case comes up in November.

In the meantime, he says he will keep the sign in his back window.


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