Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo chalks up the recent placement of constituency information signs in the Shuswap to bad judgement.
One of the signs, showing an image of Kyllo along with constituency office contact information and the slogan, Proud to serve the Shuswap, all on a blue background with red accents, was placed along Highway 97A north of Enderby, and another along Trans-Canada Highway in Canoe, north of the 97B junction.
The News first contacted Kyllo’s constituency office about the signs on Thursday, Feb. 23. The next morning, the sign on Highway 1 had been removed from its frame. In a Monday, Feb. 27 interview, Kyllo said all of the signs had since been taken down.
The Shuswap MLA acknowledged the location of the signs, as well as the timing of their placement – in proximity to the May 9 provincial election – had resulted in a “couple of calls” to his office from people who had confused the taxpayer-funded constituency signs with campaign signs.
“I thought hey, we spend lots of dollars on advertising and it’s all about making sure folks know how to contact their local MLA if they see the need, and this was just another way of doing that,” said Kyllo. “I guess the concern raised was they were maybe being confused as a campaign sign. I saw the issue, acknowledged it, and so we actually elected to pull them down.”
One of those confused by the signs was Kamloops city councillor and B.C. Green Party candidate for Kamloops South-Thompson, Donovan Cavers, who first saw them in January while visiting the area.
Cavers’ confusion turned to irritation afer he pulled over to snap a photo of one.
“So I looked at them more closely, and I guessed these are so-called constituency information,” said Cavers. “They’re totally misleading and I think it’s a complete misuse of public, taxpayer money. We’re within months of an election, it’s obvious – I even looked at the wood. That wood has not gone through a winter. Those signs… I was visiting my sister around Christmas time and they weren’t there, and I saw them in January.
“I think he deserves to be spanked basically. Using public money like that, he should definitely know better.”
Shuswap BC NDP candidate Sylvia Lindgren was also confused by the signage.
“They do appear to be campaign signs,” said Lindgren.
The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia’s Member’s Guide to Policy and Resources refers only to signage being placed on a constituency’ offices exterior. It states these signs “should not display the name or logo of a political party, contain statements of a partisan political nature or use political party colours in any recognizable partisan form.”
Kyllo notes his constituency office tends to get busier before an election, and the signs were intended to direct those needing his help to him before the writ is dropped.
“We’re trying to increase awareness of the office,” said Kyllo. “I do advertising, a bit of digital media, I do a flyer once a year just kind of updating people on the office. But not everybody is on digital media or buys a newspaper, that’s why we thought, it might not hurt – not having that highway visibility at the office – to put up some signs and let people know how to contact the office. Unfortunately, the timing was not ideal.”