A Conservative sign on Vernon’s Pleasant Valley Road is covered in paint

A Conservative sign on Vernon’s Pleasant Valley Road is covered in paint

Vandalism frustrates party supporters

Ellen and Joe Kondrat take their politics seriously and spend countless hours on the road, installing signs for their party of choice

Ellen and Joe Kondrat take their politics seriously and that means spending countless hours on the road, installing signs for their party of choice.

However, the Vernon couple are increasingly frustrated with vandals who are attacking the signs  promoting Conservative Mel Arnold.

“Politics don’t have to be dirty,” said Ellen.

One target was a sign on Old Kamloops Road.

“It was trashed with hammers or axes,” said Ellen, adding that of five signs put along Highway 97 at Stickle Road, three disappeared.

“The wires for the signs were left behind and of the two left, they were cut up.”

The most recent incident was on Sunday when the couple drove to Chase to visit family.

“We put signs up on the way there and then when we came back to Vernon later that day, the signs were no longer there,” said Ellen.

Ellen is urging residents to be respectful of private property, as the signs are expensive, and the right of all Canadians to express themselves freely.

“What good does it do to tear down the signs? We just put up more,” she said.

And the vandalism isn’t just limited to the Conservatives as other political parties also experience problems.

“We have had continual theft of signs and reports of damage,” said Jacqui Gingras, North Okanagan-Shuswap NDP candidate.

“The sign vandalism has been tough. There’s extra expense in a very tight budget and extra time for our volunteer sign crew. People have pulled together to repair and replace signs wherever possible. We have a strong team and this has made us even stronger.”

Liberal Cindy Derkaz also reports some damage to signs, while the Greens have gone unscathed.

“We have not noticed any damage to our signs and I don’t believe any have been stolen either,” said Green Chris George.

“But we are not that focused on playing the sign game. Signs are incredibly expensive and as Greens, we also consider the carbon emissions that result from driving around putting signs everywhere and then taking them down again.”