District tightens election campaign rules

New restrictions apply to all election campaigns

Election candidates are prohibited from putting signs up at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre parking lot.

Nanaimo school trustees last week approved a proposal to include the new rule in the district’s election campaign guidelines.

Carol McNamee, school board vice-chairwoman, said the parking lot, which is right beside Nanaimo District Secondary School, is owned by the district and trustees want to ensure a level playing field for all candidates.

The guidelines, which apply to all elections, permit campaign activities on school grounds if they are pre-approved by the school principal, as long as activities include all candidates involved.

McNamee said the new rule about signs at the aquatic centre parking area was prompted by the actions of one trustee during the last civic election. The trustee parked a vehicle with election signs all over it in the lot.

Other changes to the policy include: candidates cannot advertise on school district property or at school-sponsored events and district employees must not use district resources in support of any campaign.

When the election policy was first developed in 2005, it was McNamee’s own provincial election campaign that prompted it – she ran as NDP candidate for the Nanaimo-Parksville riding that year.

When she quit as president of the Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association in 2004 to focus on her election campaign, she put letters in teachers’ mailboxes announcing why she was leaving and inviting them to donate to her campaign.

Shortly afterward, said McNamee, the rules were developed, including the rule against using district resources, such as staff mailboxes, for campaign purposes.

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