The ability of candidates for Council (and the Mayoralty) to pay attention and play by the rules was called into question recently on Facebook.

The discussion I’m thinking of took place on what is now called Campaigning for North Grenville. It’s a closed Facebook Group page that requires invitees to follow simple social media etiquette rules to participate and is not necessarily focused on individual candidate campaigns. It has four Moderators and at last count it had over 240 members. Full Disclosure: I’m the Administrator.

As campaign election signs started to appear (one incumbent actually put theirs up before the official campaign period started), questions started to appear questioning their placement. Complaints were made about the number occupying prime public space at intersections. Issues of safety and visual clutter were raised.

Dave rolls up his survey’s tape at 44 and Beach Road.

What’s the big deal; shouldn’t people be talking about more important issues? Not everyone is on Facebook, or Twitter or whatever. Well yes, but . . The deal, as Kristin Strackerjan pointed out in a post, is that the online complaints and the response the candidates are taking, or not taking, to comply with the by-law had greater significance. It revealed their sense of fairness, their responsiveness, and their degree of agility and access via social media platforms.

Another “take away” from SignGate is that we also need to stop the “cut and paste” approach to creating new Municipal by-laws or updating the old ones. The Municipality’s Election Sign By-law requires close reading  to understand because there are different County and Provincial roads within the Municipality – and they, of course, require different rules. Even then there are sections that seem unclear or out-of-place in a rural or hamlet setting. Language and terms “borrowed” from larger urban centres don’t always fit our small rural community. Some do but many don’t. We need Made in North Grenville by-laws; by-laws that are unique to our experience and have the ring of common sense. The next Council should adopt a Policy of working with community stakeholders when drafting or revising Municipal By-laws.

Cheers, John Barclay

PS. I’m proud of my neighbour Dave Melville for taking issue with the election sign placements (including my own) and getting municipal staff involved in order to address it. I know of  one other friend who filed a formal complaint. Dave also volunteered to help me move some of mine. (see photo above).

Oct 15 – Oct 22 – Cast your vote for a more effective Council.

Elect John Barclay


Author: John Barclay

A graduate of York University’s Film Production Program, John has produced more than 250 corporate and educational productions since winning the Canadian Independent Short Film Showcase award in 1983. In 2009, after over 30 years as the principal of Triune Productions Inc. a Toronto-based independent film, video and multimedia production company, he moved to Oxford Mills and immediately became involved in the community. With a belief that effective media can be a catalyst for social change, John has produced many videos for local community groups. With his fundraising and sponsorship experience in both the public and private sectors, John has developed winning proposals for the Kemptville Farmers’ Market, the 2014 Dandelion Festival and Triune Arts, a charity for which he acts as Executive Director.

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