Shuswap MLA candidates report campaign signs are disappearing or being damaged in the region.
BC NDP candidate Sylvia Lindgren said that sometime between Oct. 9 and 10, all of her small signs at one location in Armstrong were removed while larger signs were pushed over into ditches.
Some especially determined vandals have been targeting NDP signs in Sunnybrae. Lindgren said the signs have been removed and replaced several times over the past week.
A large sign near the west end of Salmon Arm was also pushed over.
Signs set up by the campaign to elect Owen Madden of the Green Party in the Sunnybrae area were also damaged or removed. Among others that were removed, Madden said one sign was knocked over next to a BC Liberal sign which was left standing.
Lindgren said the stolen and damaged signs are disappointing because of the work and money involved with setting them up. She said campaign donations are still coming in despite the financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic is creating for people, and replacing signs is not the best possible use of the donations.
With less face-to-face campaigning going on because of the pandemic, Lindgren said the signs as well as media are more important to the candidates than in previous elections.
Madden said he didn’t want to make the damage done to the signs the story of the campaign as he and the rest of his campaign have seen plenty of support. He also recognized the strong negative emotions the Green Party platform incites in what he described as a small group of people.
The Green candidate added that it is a criminal offence to remove the election signs and his campaign would be trying to identify and report those responsible.
Removing or defacing election signs is an offence under the Canada Elections Act, which states, “no one may interfere with the transmission of a election advertising, such as an election sign.” There are, however, exceptions. Government agencies may remove signs that do not respect provincial or municipal laws, after informing the person who authorized the posting of the sign they plan to remove it. Additionally, if the sign is a safety hazard, government agencies may remove it without informing the person who authorized the posting of the sign.
Election signs placed on private property can be removed at the discretion of the property owner.