Elections P.E.I. investigating complaints about election signs

Elections P.E.I. has received "multiple complaints" about election signage, with questions of whether violations of the Election Expenses Act have occurred.

Elections P.E.I. investigating several complaints

Election signs for the P.E.I. Liberal Party went up Tuesday night after Liberal Leader Wade MacLauchlan announced an April 23 election. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Elections P.E.I. has received "multiple complaints" about election signage, with questions of whether violations of the Election Expenses Act have occurred.

"Elections P.E.I. is currently investigating all complaints," said chief electoral officer Tim Garrity in an email to CBC News.

Around the time Liberal Leader Wade MacLauchlan called the election Tuesday evening, signs for the Liberals were put up, drawing criticism from Green Party candidate Hannah Bell who tweeted they went up before the writ was dropped.

Bell said the Green Party is careful to follow the rules laid out by Elections P.E.I. and she was surprised to see the signs up Tuesday evening in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Charlottetown.

"It's one of the core things of, is this legal and appropriate."

Bell said she was contacted by residents in the area who said the signs were up for the Liberal Party, adding it wasn't only in her riding where signs were erected but province-wide.

"It's pretty clear the signs can't go up until the candidate has formally filed their papers with the returning officer for our district and as the writ was literally being dropped at that point, there was no way that could have happened yet."

Bell said she believes signs going up early likely won't affect the election outcome.

"The signs are part of being in an election campaign and everyone will get their signs up eventually. Whether it is the day of, or the day after, I really don't think it matters that much."

Candidates may face fine of up to $1,000 for infractions.

"It's really up to Elections P.E.I what they do about that," Bell said.

In an email to CBC, Mary Moszynski, spokesperson for the Liberal Party, said there was nothing illegal about the party putting signs up Tuesday evening.

"The signage complies with the act. Post-writ signage that directly promotes the election of a party, candidate or potential candidate can be erected as long as either the party or the candidate is registered. This is consistent with past practice."

The Prince Edward Island Liberal Party is registered under the act. It can therefore erect signs post-writ directly promoting its candidates even though those candidates have not yet been formally registered under the act, Moszynski said.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning


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