An overnight spate of political vandalism saw dozens of campaign signs ripped from the ground and then unceremoniously dumped at Grand Forks Secondary School (GFSS).
The signs were put up by three parties vying for the riding of South Okanagan – West Kootenay in next Monday’s federal election. Of the dozens of signs found at the high school Monday morning, Sept. 13, most (27) came at the expense of the NDP incumbent, Richard Cannings. Twenty signs belonging to People’s Party Candidate Sean Taylor were also found, along with eight signs from the Conservatives’ Helena Konanz and three signs from the Green Party’s Tara Howse.
Seven signs advertising the upcoming Terry Fox Run were also dumped at GFSS.
Brian Menzies, campaign manager for Helena Konanz, said campaign volunteers came across the scene Sunday night and then put up as many of their candidate’s signs as they could find.
“The reason they did this so quickly is because they’ve had to put their signs back up throughout the whole campaign,” Menzies said, adding that the Konanz campaign in no way sanctions the practice of tearing down campaign signs.
“We’re trying to get people out to vote on September 20th and tearing down signs doesn’t get people to go out and vote,” he explained.
Ken McLaren, campaign manager for Richard Cannings, said he was surprised at the extent of the vandalism.
“I just don’t know who would do that. That’s beyond me,” he told The Gazette.
“In every campaign, there’s always signs that will be damaged or altered,” he continued, adding that it was unusual for dozens of signs to be ripped up in one night.
It is a criminal offense under the Elections Act to remove or vandalize campaign signs on public or private property. Campaign signs can be taken down by local governments if they are deemed to be a safety hazard, according to the act.