Man's free speech muzzled in removal of protest sign

Terry Groves with part of the sign he received a summons for displaying on Thursday, Sept. 19,...

Terry Groves with part of the sign he received a summons for displaying on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. Groves stands at the edge of the property in Bolton where Canadian Tire plans to build a warehouse. (Craig Robertson/QMI Agency)

Joe Warmington, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:43 PM ET

TORONTO - No free speech in the Town of Caledon?

There will be no problem convincing Bolton’s Terry Groves of that.

“I swear to God I got a summons handed to me Tuesday to go court,” he said.

For murder? Assault? Drunk driving?

“It’s because of a protest sign,” the school custodian said.

Come again?

“Yeah, my ‘no trucks’ sign I had on my pickup truck.”

No kidding.

Seems the sign in the cab of his truck — “Say no to Canadian Tire Depot. 800 trucks a day” — is verboten in Bolton.

Groves was delivered court documents from the “Ontario Court of Justice.”

The summons under Section 24 of the Provincial Offences Act states: “Whereas you have been charged before me that you between the 2nd day of June 2013 and the 18th day of June did commit the offence of using or permitting to be used a motor vehicle primarily as a sign or as a sign structure contrary to Section 6 of Bylaw 94.14 as amended.”

Groves’s sign was intended to express his displeasure about a Canadian Tire warehouse being built on land once zoned for agricultural use in the Caledon village of Bolton. A “ministerial zoning order” allowed the rezoning application to bypass all local opposition and the normal planning process.

The summons was delivered with a straight face, too. He was not being punked.

He must appear in court Oct. 21.

The courts and bylaw enforcement have nothing else to do?

The powers that be must be going to comedy school in their down time.

But Groves is having a difficult time finding the humour in it. “I thought we lived in a democracy.”

Who knew there was such a bylaw?

“There is in Marolyn Morrison’s Caledon,” said Groves.

He and the mayor have a history.

Groves’s ex-wife and former councillor Annette lost to the mayor in the last election and he was embroiled in civil action over comments he made about a previous land dispute. “With past lawsuits between the mayor, myself and her campaign manager, there is lots of hatred towards me here.”


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