By this time tomorrow, we’ll know the result of the 2015 PEI provincial election. It’s a few months ahead of schedule, but scheduled election date legislation is a fairly new thing to us here in PEI. We’re more used to the element of surprise.
We’re also used to the signs. Oh, the signs, signs, sings. A good friend of mine had been working at a sign shop until a few months ago, after the election was called I asked him how glad he was to no longer be working there. The answer was of course very.
I’m not sure if there are more signs this time around, or if there are always this many, but it seems that every street corner with anything resembling public property has been decorated with signage. There are large signs, small signs, tall and wide signs, in various flavours of red, blue, green and orange. The signs seem to be proliferating, even in the last few days of the campaign new ones have sprung up, much like early dandelions.
As with every election, the signs are both a blight on the landscape and a source of occasional amusement. There are the signs with unfortunate pictures, the sort that make you wonder if that was actually the best picture of the candidate they could possibly come up with. It’s never a good thing when your potential representative looks perpetually startled, or angry, or like he might live alone in a shed (Or in a van down by the river).
After seeing a certain number of these signs, though, a disturbing pattern came up. The Liberal party has some large signs showing the local candidate as well as provincial leader Wade MacLaughlan. This is hardly a unique thing, the Progressive Conservatives have the same sort of thing. What’s troublesome about the Liberal signs is the fact that on every single one I’ve seen so far, the candidates are arranged so that Wade is looking over the shoulder of the local person. And he is always, always taller. Maybe just a little, maybe a fair amount, but he is always the person of greater stature. There are a few pictures below showing a few of the signs that I happened to take pictures of. If anyone out there has seen one showing a different height arrangement I’d like to know about it.
I will admit that I don’t know for certain how tall Mr. MacLaughlan is. He was president of UPEI when I graduated, so I’ve presumably shook his hand at least once. That was more than a decade ago, so someone would have to be freakishly tall for that to stick out in the memory. Maybe I’m mistaken and he’s actually taller than any of the other candidates running for his party, but that is doubtful.
In all likelihood, this is a conscious image strategy, to have the leader look strong and competent by being visually placed as high as possible. It’s probably not the worst image strategy, but now that I’ve noticed it, I can’t help but see it on every one of those signs. He’s like a big brother, just behind you, looking out for you. Or maybe keeping tabs on what you’re up to. As the oldest child in my family, I never had a big brother when I was growing up, so your opinion of big brothers may vary.