CCF advocacy has resulted in suspension of unconstitutional Yarmouth sign bylaw

CCF advocacy has resulted in suspension of unconstitutional Yarmouth sign bylaw

TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) is pleased to see that its advocacy has resulted in the suspension of an unconstitutional bylaw in the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The new bylaw would have restricted the right of residents of the town to display election signs on private and public property. The law would have been in effect for federal, provincial, and municipal elections, including the upcoming Nova Scotia municipal elections in October.

“We are relieved that the residents of Yarmouth will be able to freely express their political opinions in the upcoming municipal election. Had this bylaw remained in effect, freedom of expression would have been curtailed and the incumbent politicians who enacted this illegal law would have been given an advantage over new candidates,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn.

Yarmouth Town Council has announced the suspension of the bylaw late on Friday, August 14, following a closed Town Council meeting on August 13. The suspension came after the CCF sent Town Council a letter on July 24, then a public news release on August 4, followed by a column in the Chronicle Herald on August 5.

“The local politicians in Yarmouth snuck in this self-serving and unconstitutional bylaw under the radar while most people were paying attention to the pandemic. We believe that without the advocacy of the CCF, this bylaw would have remained in force during the October municipal elections, and could potentially have impacted their outcome,” continued Van Geyn.

The bylaw has been suspended but not repealed. The Town of Yarmouth issued a news release that stated repealing a bylaw is a three month process, and the election is two months away. The stay on enforcement will remain in effect until the new council is formed and decides how to proceed.

“Once a new council is formed in Yarmouth, we will be following up on this matter. We need to see that the new council is taking steps to repeal this undemocratic and illegal law. We will continue to monitor the actions of this Council, and will litigate to protect the rights of Yarmouth residents if necessary” concluded Van Geyn.

The original version of this release can be viewed here. Image by Ishmael N. Daro and used under CC 2.0.