The political sign wars

There’s an election in the wind, and often so are the signs.

Ella Burke
Kicker

Hundreds of signs by each major party can be seen stuck in lawns, on light poles, and in ditches.

The environment is one of the top issues in the federal election. When the Liberal’s were in power, they intended to ban 10 types of single-use plastics by 2021.  

But even with the environment a major issue in the election, plastic signs can be seen on every corner.

Election signs are all over the province and the country. All together, it adds up to a lot of plastic.

Nick Whalen is the Liberal candidate and incumbent in the St. John’s East riding.

“A tradition in political campaigns is to get these signs and have them be reusable,” said Whalen.  

“We’ve recycled all of the signs from the last campaign for this campaign.”

The Liberal two-by-two foot signs are actually reversible. This means they can be flipped around to blank side and re-branded with a new candidate.

“You use half as much plastic, it cost less,” Whalen said.

David Peters is the Green party candidate in the riding of St. John’s East. While the Green party’s signs are plastic, he says they’re are also reusable.

“About a third of the signs that you see actually are from the 2008 election,” Peters said.

“The Vote for Green (signs) are now 11 years old.”

Their signs, he says, are even more reusable than the other parties.

“We’re not in a sign war here.

We’ll never win that sign war.”

David Peters

“You’ll notice they’re generic and we put name stickers on them,” said Peters.

“A lot of my signs now have David Peters on them, but the next election they will be re-used, and someone else’s name might be on them stuck over my name.”

All parties typically try and collect as many signs as they can after elections, but that can be hard to do when there are so many. Heavy winds in the province often turns the signs into kites.

Whalen says if the other parties could agree not to use signs, he would be all in favour of that. He says they could use digital billboards instead.

Peters says he would like to see biodegradable signs in the future. He says it would be cool to see them starting to become compost by the end of the election.

When it’s over, he said, all they would have to do is leave the remnants of the biodegradable sign and take back the metal frame to be used again in the next election.

“We have about one sign for every 20 that the other candidates have,” said Peters.

“We’re not in a sign war here. We’ll never win that sign war. We don’t have the financial resources and we don’t have the will or interest in fighting a sign war.”

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