Saturday, June 7, 2014

Illegal signs attacking Conservatives spring up Friday evening throughout Ottawa

The Working Families Coalition, so far fairly silent in the 2014 Ontario election, has geared up its lobbying for the Ontario Liberal Party in the last week before the election.

Working Families has been the driving force behind the Ontario Liberal Party since 2003, when they helped Dalton McGuinty take power by viciously smearing Mike Harris' Conservatives.

Since then, they've assisted the Liberals in every re-election campaign by coordinating vicious attack ads that distort the truth or outright lie about the Conservatives' platform.

Far from what their name suggests Working Families is nothing more than a front group for the Liberal Party. And far from representing or working on behalf of working families, the union-backed coalition exclusively attacks Conservatives.

Their latest stunt was pulled off late Friday afternoon, when hundreds of anti-Conservative signs sprung up across Ottawa, strategically placed next to Conservative signs, that say “The numbers just don't add up. We can't trust Hudak and Ontario PC's (sic)” in black and white. Tiny lettering on the bottom says the signs are “authorized by Working Families.”

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, a former Liberal cabinet minister, encouraged Ottawa residents to contact the city's bylaw enforcement office through 311 to have the signs removed. As of Saturday morning, the backlog of calls was resulting in a 30+ minute wait time. Complaints can also be submitted online, but they can take up to four days to receive a response.

City of Ottawa bylaws do allow election signage, but only those which advertise “a candidate or political party in a municipal, school board, public utility company, provincial or federal election.” In other words, third party signs that attack another party are a no-go.

During the 2011 election, the Working Families Coalition spent an estimated $10 million on advertising, more than the Conservatives and NDP combined.

The Coalition is 100 percent backed by unions representing ironworkers, millwrights, nurses, and the Secondary School Teachers Federation, however that support has dropped in recent years.

Their videos released so far for the 2014 election complain that Hudak's Million Jobs Plan math is wrong and that Hudak will give “new tax breaks to corporations.”

Just as I was taking the photo of the Working Families sign next to Matt Young's sign, a bylaw enforcement officer arrived and removed the sign.

The city has not yet responded to questions of whether the Working Families Coalition will be fined for its illegal signage.