While campaign signs are often vandalized over the course of a political campaign, the 2021 contest has been particularly bad for some candidates in the North Island-Powell River riding.
Most notably are the campaign signs for NDP candidate Rachel Blaney, which have been vandalized with swastikas in Campbell River and down Highway 19A to Black Creek.
“It’s very disheartening,” Blaney said. “This is a very evil symbol of hatred and I am distraught that this is being done to signs. We need to stand up where ever we see hate rear it’s ugly head.”
Blaney’s campaign is not the only one to have seen vandalism. Green Party of Canada candidate Jessica Wegg has had some signs physically damaged — including an instance of tearing a sign off, folding it in half and screwing it shut — as well as some graffiti. The Liberal Party candidate Jennifer Grenz has also had some sign vandalism, including some the theft of “about two dozen” signs within the first three days of the campaign, and some damage to some larger signs.
The Liberal Party team has reported the incidents to the RCMP.
Blaney said that the different campaign teams have been good at informing each other about the incidents.
“During campaigns people step up. They’re people who believe in a party. They step up and they go out and do a lot of work. These volunteers are out there participating in our democracy putting my signs up all over the place, and to see that kind of (thing) is disrespectful to the volunteers as well, which is also disheartening,” she said. “This is democracy, this is our process of democracy and we should all respect that, regardless of our differences of opinion. This is part of our system and we should all be respectful of the system and also the hard-working volunteers who are behind a lot of the work that happens during a campaign,” she said. “Let’s just get through the next few days, and I hope people go out and vote.”
Dick Clancy, campaign manager for the Conservative Party of Canada has seen some damage to that campaign’s signs, but said that “We have had the least sign damage of any campaign that I’ve worked on, and this is the fifth one I’ve managed.”
“We have observed that other teams are having heavy damage, and we totally condemn those actions,” Clancy said. “That is not anything that we would ever dream of condoning… I reached out to the NDP Campaign Manager and offered to do a press release condemning this type of activity. “
The Maverick Party has seen some signs go missing, and the Marxist-Leninist Party has not put up any signs.
The NDP team will be removing the symbols from the vandalized signs.
“Defacing signs, especially with hate, is something I think we should all say ‘that is not OK,’ ” Blaney said.
The Mirror has reached out to the People’s Party of Canada on their experiences with campaign sign vandalism.