Thursday, May 07, 2015

Signs Banned In Nanaimo Council Chambers??

"Signman" asked to put sign away

For those regular council watchers the 'Signman' has become a familiar face at council meetings for many months now, making his first appearances during the previous council.

His signs have been met with mixed response ranging from love them to hate them. I personally find it refreshing when members of the public actually wake up. get off their butts and participate in the only form of government we can have any meaningful input into.

While I don't agree with being a nuisance and interfering with others participating in the council meetings, I wonder if outright banning of signs in council chambers is the road we want to go down.

I have asked Mayor McKay if it is now official city of Nanaimo policy to ban the display of signs during Council meetings. If it is, I presume council has obtained sound legal advice as Nanaimo doesn't need any more negative publicity than we got as a result of Leadercast during Mayor Ruttan's reign.

Mayor McKay Responds

Currently, there is no policy in place that either allows or disallows signs being displayed in the gallery. Mr. Stearman is the only member of the public who frequently displays signs at our weekly meetings. When he displays a sign or signs that would cause people to become distracted, or feel unsafe, that is where I have to draw the line. Some of the signs previously displayed by Mr. Stearman have purposely intended to embarrass, ridicule, or taunt members of Council. When a Council member feels intimidated or doesn’t enter debate on a matter because of Mr. Stearman’s signs, that is not helpful to conducting our business.

As the Chair of meetings, the Mayor or Acting Mayor, have the responsibility to ensure that each meeting is run smoothly and is free of distractions that may disrupt the business of Council or interfere with someone’s ability to concentrate on who’s speaking.

During my first six months as Chair my approach to running Council meetings has been to listen to the feedback concerning their functionality and determine if changes to the meetings are warranted. Many members of the public have expressed their concerns with respect to Mr. Stearman’s signs at Council meetings.

Before closing, let me make it very clear, that I invite dialogue with members of the community. If Mr. Stearman wishes to discuss any topic of concern, he’s more than welcome to sit down with me, conversely, sign up as a delegation, or come up to the podium during question period. I encourage conversations with the citizens.



  1. The charter of rights and freedoms is explicit. Section 2 says everyone has the following fundamental freedoms ... 'Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression including freedom of the press, and other media of communication...'

  2. Will they be banning our save the Colliery Dam tee shirts next?

  3. What happened to the councilor who rose to fame during the Leadercast debacle with dashing appearances on SUN-TV bestowing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Has he vanished now that he has become mayor? Has he changed his tune just like others after power runs to their head?


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