Kitchener Centre candidate's use of 're-elect' signs not against the rules: Elections Canada

Former Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth has put up signs with the word 're-elect' on them even though he's not the incumbent in this election. Elections Canada says that doesn't break any rules, but Liberal candidate and incumbent Raj Saini calls it misleading.

Saini says he plans to run a 'very positive, accurate campaign'

Election signs for Stephen Woodworth and Raj Saini, Sept. 17, 2019 (Gary Graves/CBC)

Conservative candidate Stephen Woodworth's use of signs in Kitchener Centre that say "re-elect" are not against the rules, Elections Canada says.

Woodworth is a former MP for the riding, but he's not the incumbent. That's Liberal candidate Raj Saini.

Saini beat Woodworth in the 2015 election with 25,504 votes to Woodworth's 15,872, according to Elections Canada's official results.

A spokesperson for Elections Canada said the Canada Elections Act doesn't regulate the content of the signs, but the signs must be authorized by an official agent.

The law states election signs must be listed as an election expense and carries the message that the sign has been authorized by an official agent. Sign placement is a municipal issue.

Saini says he's heard from people upset with Woodworth's signs and he thinks Woodworth is deliberately misleading people.

Woodworth says they asked Elections Canada about the signs before they went up and were told it would be OK. As well, he says reusing the 250 to 300 old signs that had been sitting in his garage since 2015 was a "thrifty thing to do."

"It would be underestimating the intelligence of the electorate to suggest that anyone believes that I'm the incumbent. People are better informed than that," Woodworth said.

"All that needs to be taken from signs is that I'm asking people to elect me again to a post that I was elected to twice before and held for seven years."

Woodworth held the seat in Kitchener Centre between 2008 and 2015.

Incumbent Liberal candidate for Kitchener Centre Raj Saini is seen in this file photo during an announcement at Communitech in Kitchener on April 16, 2019. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

'We want people to make informed decisions'

Saini says the signs will cause some confusion, but in the end, he hopes people focus more on his record from over the past four years.

"I've done a fantastic job," Saini said, listing off that he's advocated for affordable housing, funding for local tech companies and arts groups, as well as more funding for regional infrastructure.

Saini says he's proud of the work the Liberals have done in the last four years.

"We want people to make informed decisions at the end of the day. And also, we want to run a very positive, accurate campaign."

Woodworth said he, too, wants people to think back on his record when he was the MP as they make their decision. He said at the doors during this campaign, he's hearing people are upset with the current government and want change.

Saini says all the signs he has out right now are reused signs from the 2015 campaign. They are ordering more signs and those will say re-elect on them.

In Kitchener Centre, Saini and Woodworth are facing Green candidate Mike Morrice, NDP candidate Andrew Moraga, People's Party of Canada candidate Patrick Bernier and Ellen Papenburg of the Animal Protection Party of Canada.

The federal election is Oct. 21.


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