Election Opponent Says Leiper Bike Rack Ads Violate Election Law

There are 10 advertisements for such bike racks along Richmond Road and Wellington Street in the neighborhood.

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Jeff Leiper calls them ads, but one of his opponents in the Kitchissippi mayoral race says he’s clearly breaking election laws with advertising on bike racks around the neighborhood.

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Oonagh Fitzgerald, who is running against Leiper in the vote scheduled for October 24, says adverts on bike racks are unfair and should be removed.

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Under municipal election rules, election signs cannot be put up until September 9.

But election ads with Leiper’s photo on them that are embedded in bike racks are already popping up around the neighborhood.

Leiper said there were 10 adverts for such bike racks along Richmond Road and Wellington Street. He uses them, in part, because he is an advocate for cycling. He said he and his team view them as advertisements, which are not covered by election laws that determine when it is legal to display election signs.

“We believe this is an advertisement and there are no rules about it,” he said. Leiper compared the ads to newspaper and radio ads, which are not covered by election sign laws.

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“An election sign is an election sign, and most people know what that is,” he said.

Fitzgerald, an attorney, says the bike rack signs are clearly election signs and are covered by the settlement, which means Leiper’s campaign is violating election law.

The Municipal Sign Bylaws define an election sign as “a temporary sign, including a rigid poster or sign affixed to the ground, a medium advertising or opposing a candidate, political party, or an answer ‘yes’ or ‘ no’ to a question on the ballot in a municipal, school, utility, provincial or federal election.

Fitzgerald said Leiper “stumbled over the word ‘election sign.’

Just because his campaign is paying him on a bike rack, she says, doesn’t mean it’s not an election sign.

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“It would definitely be included as an election sign (under the regulations). It does exactly what an election sign does,” Fitzgerald said.

She noted that the rules existed to limit the amount of time the public was bombarded with signs, and also to ensure that the playing field was level playing field.

She said one of her followers informed her of the signs. She said she reached out to Leiper to “give her a whim” about 10 days ago. She said her supporter then contacted 311, the city’s service request center, about the signs.

Leiper said he asked the city to look into the matter “to be on the safe side” and that he would abide by everything he said, including removing the signs if they violated election rules.

In addition to Fitzgerald and Leiper, Daniel Stringer is running for office in the Kitchissippi ward.

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