EDMONTON — An Edmonton man plans to fight a traffic ticket he was given for sticking a crude political message in the rear window of his car.
Rob Wells posted the handmade, pink “F–k Harper” sign a week ago to voice his contempt for Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in the upcoming federal election.
He recently took a road trip to Vancouver and kept a log of about 60 other drivers who reacted with support.
“All the way out there I’m getting thumbs up, thumbs up, thumbs up,” Wells recalled Wednesday.
On the drive back, after he hit the Calgary area on Sunday, he said he saw a few middle fingers.
RCMP then pulled him over about 50 kilometres south of Edmonton. An officer demanded he remove the sign, Wells said.
“I insisted that I had a right to have it … it’s a political statement.”
He said the officer told him, “if you don’t get rid of it, I’m writing you a ticket.”
“I said, ‘OK. We’ll see you in court.”’
Wells was handed a $543 fine under the section of the Highway Traffic Act that prohibits anything that distracts other drivers.
Wells said he plans to be in Ponoka provincial court Nov. 12 to argue against the ticket and will also be filing a complaint with the RCMP.
RCMP Sgt. Josee Valiquette wouldn’t comment on the political sign. She said police stopped Wells after receiving two complaints about erratic driving.
Wells argues his sign isn’t distracting and he was simply stopped by police because of its message.
“It’s sure not as distracting as a pretty girl driving around in convertible with the top down.”
Wells said he was pulled over by Edmonton police 15 years ago, after he put a “F–k Ralph” bumper sticker on his car to protest former Alberta premier Ralph Klein’s push for private health care.
He wasn’t charged.
Police determined he wasn’t doing anything illegal, Wells said, and he recently dug up a police directive he received after his stop that states that officers shouldn’t pull over vehicles with offensive political signs, unless the messages are hate crimes.
Wells plans to keep the Harper sign in the window of the Saturn hatchback parked outside his home, at least until the election is over.
He doesn’t care if he gets stopped by police again.
“They can write up another ticket.”