May's campaign signs in home riding defaced with tin foil hats
Published Tuesday, September 1, 2015 4:28PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 1, 2015 6:57PM PDT
Somebody on Vancouver Island is trying to foil Green Party Leader Elizabeth May’s bid to get re-elected in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.
More than a dozen election campaign signs have been defaced and destroyed, and some volunteers said they’ve even been threatened while installing them, according to Green Party volunteer coordinator Mark McInnes.
“Some of the vandalism we can expect from teenagers because it’s close to the street side and it’s easy for people to get to,” McInnes said. “Some of them though, it definitely takes a lot more effort. It’s a more concerted effort to try to tear those ones down.”
In one of the more original efforts, a vandal stapled tin foil hats on at least five signs featuring the Green Party Leader. The hats were quickly removed in each case.
“At least in this case, it’s a bit more creative than destructive, but at the same time, it’s still a criminal offense,” McInnes said.
In another incident, a man driving a pick-up truck told party members if they erected a large sign he would come back and tear it down.
May herself weighed in on the spate of vandalism happening in her own backyard during a campaign stop in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
She said she was aware of the tin foil hats, and that this campaign has been one of the worst for sign theft and vandalism.
“There does seem to be a heightened degree of attack on Green Party signs in this election, which is, I think, unfortunate,” she said. “If anyone sees anyone vandalizing a sign, please let us know.”
She added that Green Party policy is to have volunteers repair signs for other parties if they’ve been knocked down or vandalized.
The party is now considering contacting police to investigate.
Saanich Police spokesman Sgt. John Price reminded the public that defacing election signs is a criminal offense that carries a charge of mischief to property, a fine of up to $5,000 or six months in jail.
“Certainly it’s serious. This is a democratic country and these people are in a race right now for leadership in this country,” he said. “These people are damaging signs – this is a cowardly act.”
The party said it’s happy to put the signs back up, and that vandalized signs won’t stand in their way to what they hope will be a major breakthrough in the Oct. 19 federal election.
As for the people who are destroying signs, May had stern words:
“Whoever’s attacking signs, I wonder if they even bother to vote?” she asked. “It really matters that everyone who cares about the future of this country decides to take the time to go and vote. If all you can do is knock over someone’s sign and deface them, then your quality of engagement is not meeting the standard of a democracy.”
May’s not the only one on the Island facing vandalism concerns – Victoria Green candidate Joanne Robert’s team says they have experienced signs being destroyed as well.
CTV News reached out to all major parties on southern Vancouver Island, but so far the Greens are the only ones reporting any major sign issues.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island’s Scott Cunningham