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A few Referendum housekeeping notes

All constituency volunteers contacted earlier by Corisa, please let us know if the sign gathering has been completed and let us know where the signs are now temporarily stored for keeping until they can somehow later be moved to, and stored by, Bill Vander Zalm.

“Fight HST” is optimistic about the ballot counting results, in spite of all the problems with ballots and the “NO” response to our complaints about millions of dollars worth of misleading advertising by government and the big business alliance.

For all of you that are not too far away and able to make it over to the Jack Poole Plaza at the new Convention Centre – foot of Burrard Street in Vancouver, we would ask as many as possible to meet there at 5 PM on the day that the final count of ballots is announced.

Bill Vander Zalm

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BC Civil Liberties Association supports Fight HST on Vancouver & city by-laws restricting signs on city property!

BCCLA says “draconian removal of citizens’ HST signs” an illegal act

Released by British Columbia Civil Liberties Association addressing the FightHST “VOTE YES to extinguish the HST” sign removal.

The BCCLA is weighing in on reports that city officials in Vancouver and Chilliwack have been removing citizens’ political signs about the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) Referendum placed on public property like boulevards and meridians.

The BCCLA has written to the Mayors of these municipalities urging them to refrain from removing political signs for the duration of the referendum campaign.

“Municipalities are enforcing bylaws that will not survive constitutional challenge. A legal challenge will be costly to citizens and taxpayers and we are instead urging municipalities to do the right thing: respect political speech rights and redraft your bylaws to be Charter complaint,” said Robert Holmes, Q.C., President of the BCCLA.

In the fall of 2010, the British Columbia Court of Appeal struck down a Vancouver bylaw that amounted to an absolute prohibition on political structures in public space in relation to the Falun Gong protest hut. The Court found that a blanket prohibition on the use of public space for political speech was a violation of citizens’ rights to free expression.

Holmes: “As the Supreme Court of Canada has said repeatedly, political speech lies at the heart of freedom of expression. While it might be permissible under the Charter to regulate the time, place and manner of expression, any such restrictions have to minimally impair citizens’ right to political expression.

The draconian removal of citizens’ HST signs obviously does not meet that legal test. Municipalities cannot make whatever rules they wish for public space, as if they were private owners of the property. Public space is subject to the Charter and because of that, there must be some room for political speech in public space.

We understand that Surrey initially removed HST signs, but reconsidered. We commend Surrey, and call on other municipalities to do the same.”

UPDATE: Maple Ridge supports free expression
The BCCLA is issuing a correction to an earlier release in which we reported on complaints from a number of municipalities that HST campaign signs were being removed by city officials. Some sign removals were mistakenly described as occurring in Maple Ridge, a district that in fact support HST signage. The sign removals may have in fact taken place in neighbouring Pitt Meadows, where Mayor Don MacLean has publicly announced that the City is removing HST signs.

Read the letter at: Click here to read the BCCLA’s letter to the mayors of Vancouver and Chilliwack

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No Rallies this week.


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