Sign wars: 2 Charlottetown candidates square off on the grass

Volunteers responsible for election signs in the Robert Campbell and Sean Casey campaigns in Charlottetown were busy on Friday, as the two camps jockeyed for positions on the grass.

'It's not an attack ad,' says Conservative candidate

The signs appeared on Friday morning in several locations in Charlottetown. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

Volunteers responsible for election signs in the Conservative and Liberal campaigns in Charlottetown were busy on Friday, as the two camps jockeyed for positions on the grass.

Thursday night the team working for Conservative candidate Robert Campbell put up signs directly below Liberal candidate Sean Casey's signs in several locations around the city.

The Conservative signs take aim at what the party views as Casey's record, with the words "We trusted you," followed by a list of several issues including postal delivery, fuel prices and taxes.

Casey has been the MP for Charlottetown for eight years. Campbell is running for the first time and said the signs were just another way to get out his message. 

"This is a direct reminder of what Sean Casey has promised and failed to deliver," Campbell said, adding he doesn't see Islanders responding negatively toward the message. 

"I don't classify it as an attack ad. It's not an attack ad."

Casey 'wasn't really bothered'

Casey said he has dealt with this kind of tactic before, but this time said he wasn't too fazed.

Conservative candidate Robert Campbell feels the signs are not attack ads. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

"I wasn't really bothered by it," he said 

"Robert Campbell can decide to use whatever tactics he wants. I guess I was a little bit surprised that some of what is said in the signs isn't true."

Casey argued that the reference to lowering gas prices on the signs isn't accurate — that instead his government promised to fight climate change. To the reference on the signs that says "less taxes," Casey argued that the Liberals did lower taxes for the majority of Canadians, and for small business.

A return volley

Later on Friday morning, Casey's campaign struck back by placing lawn signs in front of the new Campbell signs, obscuring them from view. Campbell's campaign complained to the returning officer.

Later Friday morning volunteers with Sean Casey's campaign put these signs up to cover Campbell's message. (Rick Gibbs/CBC )

"We're not blocking his sign," said Campbell. "It's a message that they don't like and they put their signs to make sure that people can't see it."

Casey said he did not order the smaller Liberal signs blocking the new Conservative signs to be put up.

"We've got some very hard-working volunteers that find his tactics offensive. I don't. And the volunteers are out there and they're doing this," Casey said. 
"If that has upset Robert then, so be it. What I can say is that I didn't direct this."

Sign rules

The Elections Act does have rules around sign visibility. 

Liberal candidate Sean Casey says he did not order his volunteers to place the extra Liberal signs in front of the new Conservative signs. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

The act says, "No person shall prevent or impair the transmission to the public of an election advertising message without the consent of a person with authority to authorize its transmission."

Casey's campaign did seek legal advice, and Casey told CBC News that volunteers would be moving the signs covering Campbell's latest messages.

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About the Author

Natalia Goodwin

Video Journalist

Natalia is a multi-platform journalist in Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.


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