Billboards and Freedom of Expression

By Ben Bull
Published November 11, 2008

An unfortunate decision was made today in the case of Oakville City Council v. Vann Media. The Court of Appeal, in its infinite wisdom, has seen fit to strike down their attempts at limiting sign pollution.

"In a 3-0 ruling yesterday, the court (of Appeal) found that much of a controversial anti-billboard bylaw passed by (Oakville) town council in 2005 was an unreasonable 'intrusion' on the right to freedom of expression," reports the Star.

"Unreasonable intrusion on the right to freedom of expression"? Seriously?

I have to commend Oakville City Council for trying to rid its municipality of these eyesores.

Billboards do nothing to enhance the livability of a city. There are ugly, unsightly and unnecessary. If only our legal system could see things the same way.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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By ventrems (registered) | Posted November 12, 2008 at 02:29:30

Bah. Oakville itself is an eyesore...

There's a good chance this case will go to the Supreme Court. Oakville seems to have a good argument in that the violation of freedom of expression is justifiable as there are many alternatives to billboards, and billboards are becoming increasingly irrelevant. The Court seems to think billboards are sometimes used for non-commercial purposes, but that's debatable. It'll be interesting to see what the whole judgement says, and if Oakville decides to appeal.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted November 12, 2008 at 10:48:27

In case you have never seen it, check out www.illegalsigns.ca - fun to follow the bylaw process in toronto. this guy is taking on a challenge to bring down every illegal billboard in TO - and there are thousands of them...

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By volterwd (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2008 at 17:25:05

I can't believe these judges are so stupid as to not understand the difference between free speech and a company selling shit.

Companies should not have rights... they sure as hell have no responsibilities.

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