East end candidates agree: Lawn signs are best
to communicate with voters.
Cumberland ward councillor Rob Jellett will be using signs this year, but notes that it is more costly and difficult for mayoral candidates to use lawn signs due to the much larger area they have to cover.“For the ward elections it is much easier to cover the smaller area and we have more demand for the signs.”
Orléans councillor Bob Monette will “definitely” be using them. “I think they are a very important tool in communicating with residents.”
Monette says the signs are an effective way of knowing who the neighbours are supporting. “It becomes a broad range of support – anybody who knows you and anybody who drives by knows who you are supporting.”
As an incumbent, Monette will be reusing signs from previous campaigns. He even has signs dating back to 1984.
Monette’s opponent in this year’s election, Fred Sherwin, says he is also using“lots and lots of lawn signs. The more the merrier!”
Sherwin notes that a segment of voters don’t read newspapers or listen to news radio on a daily basis. “Most people get their information from their neighbours and friends,” he says. He cites name recognition as the most important asset of lawn signs.
The price of lawn signs can be hefty – at $3 to $5 a sign the cost can add up to thousands of dollars. And with the increase of concern surrounding the environment, some councillors may give up the signs in times to come.
With the surge of social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and other applications, many candidates are trying to strike a balance between the new and the old.
Cumberland ward candidate Stephen Blais will be using lawn signs, brochures and door to door visits as well as the online tools.
“It really comes down to the grassroots of what an election campaign is about,”Blais says. “Anyone can put a sign on a street corner but this demonstrates there is personal support.”
Beacon Hill-Cyrville ward councillor Michel Bellemare is also balancing traditions with new technologies.“Social media and these other methods are great; they compliment more traditional means of communications.” Bellemare said “We might see some become more important than others but it is early days when it comes to social networking tools. For now we’re using the full menu.”
Case in point: the new and old converges on Tim Tierney’s website, where the Beacon-Hill Cyrville candidate provides a link on his homepage to request a lawn sign.
It seems as though the signs are here to stay.