Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Election Day minus 26 - Making a federal case out of it......

Day 12: As I've been saying for days now, the hunt for the 100+ nomination signatures continues. It's not just me, but my colleagues find this to be a hurdle as well, and the weather has not cooperated. So this morning I got an email from a Hamilton ON, candidate and helper that collected signatures at a local mall. They were hassled by mall security, but the candidate countered that they were allowed to be in a public area like a mall, for the purposes of campaigning as outlined in the Elections Canada Act Part 6. Who knew? The two were taken to mall management (I had visions of those dumb movies - Mall Cop or something) and after some checking, the mall people let them go and they continued their hunt. Apparently there is a $2000 fine or 6 months in prison or both, for obstructing a candidate in an ordinarily public place like a mall. (see section 81.1(1) below) I know, it sounds ridiculous, because malls are private property, but this law supersedes that idea. Dumb, eh?

Rights of Candidates
Campaigning in public places

81.1 (1) No person who is in control of a building, land, street or any other place, any part of which is open without charge to members of the public, whether on a continuous, periodic or occasional basis — including any commercial, business, cultural, historical, educational, religious, governmental, entertainment or recreational place — may prevent a candidate or his or her representative from campaigning in or on that part when it is open without charge to members of the public.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of a place if campaigning in or on it would be incompatible with the function and purpose of the place or inconsistent with public safety.
S.C. 2007, c. 21, s. 12.

At my wife's suggestion, I decided to head for my local library (see idyllic picture above); it's a public place, its warm, there are seats, a washroom, and it's a place of learning. What better place to educate my neighbours about libertarianism, right?
Well, upon entry I first introduced myself to one of the library workers, as a courtesy. After about 20 minutes of begging for people to sign my nomination papers, a tall librarian approached me and said I must stop because I was breaking library policy. No soliciting! I showed her my letter from the Chief Electoral Officer, but that didn't phase her, library policy is library policy, rocks beat scissors. She took me to the head librarian, same story. At this point I'm feeling that the law is on my side (dumb as it was) for once. I sat down, she said she would call the police, I heard myself saying: "go ahead." As I sat there thinking: "I'm wasting my time here, the cops will take there sweet time and I have a deadline." So I retreated to the library foyer (out of sight) and continued soliciting. After another twenty minutes, and very few signatures (many people were from outside my riding district) the police arrived and I showed them the letter. They left me to confer with the librarians, and I continued collecting signatures and handing out my brochure. They returned and suggested that I should have asked permission first, I apologized, then said I didn't really need permission but I would next time. They left and I apologized to the librarian (I am trying to get votes).
The upshot of the whole thing is that I was right, but no one had ever tried this in the library system. When I got home I spoke to the library CEO, who apologized to me, and said he will send an email warning other branches that I might arrive. Tomorrow is another day.


  1. Way to go Allen!

    Keep up the great fight.

  2. Thanks, the good news is they didn't come in with tasers blazing!

  3. I went to the local mall management and asked permission to ask for signatures. The management informed me that I had the legal right to do what I needed to do. I told them, "I don't care if the law forces you, I still would like your permission to operate in your mall" Not only did they agree, they gave me their signatures. Later on, when I was asking the people for their permission. They were asking me if I was the candidate that got kicked out of this same mall. The story was in a local paper. I found out, that it was the candidate from the Green Party that got tossed by security. The Green Party Candidate's own daughter gave me her permission to run. If you ask the competition for help, they will, because they want the same in return. Permission from voters, they need signatures. Are you willing to give your competition your signature in order for them to run.