Several People’s Party of Canada campaign signs in the North Okanagan-Shuswap have been targeted by vandals.
Though illegal, vandalism involving campaign signs is not uncommon. But candidate Kyle Delfing, who has seen his signs targeted in past elections, says “this year has been different.”
Defaced with the word “Fascist” or the addition of a little toothbrush moustache, Delfing said several of his signs were hit in Vernon and Salmon Arm.
“It has made a point to our community that hate isn’t just directed at skin colour,” he told Black Press. “Ideology will also garner hate.”
Delfing said in past campaigns, vandals would target his sign on Highway 6 and Kalamalka, but once staff replaced it there would be no more issues.
This year, he said, that sign was vandalized shortly after the writ dropped Aug. 16.
“They tried to cut my head out of the sign,” he said. “Then, when they failed to do so, they ripped the sign off the rig.”
That sign was replaced with a faceless sign and Delfing said there’s been no issue since.
The following week, a sign at Highway 97 and 48th Avenue in Vernon was torn down and “thrown into traffic,” Delfing said. That was fixed and the next week it was spray-painted over. A sign at the Wholesale Club on 25th Avenue was defaced with a red moustache and another had his face whited out with a curse word painted across.
“We replaced the one at 27th Street and Anderson Way that had my face cut out,” he said. “Less than a day later, I have a Hitler ‘stache on it.”
It costs around $50 to replace a sign, Delfing said, but there’s also a time and labour cost associated that falls on his supporters and sign crews.
“Really, I am disappointed with the actions,” he said. “Not surprised.”
Delfing said as a Canadian of German descent, the connections vandals are conveying make him “think a bit.”
Recalling his grandmother’s experiences in Germany in the Second World War “harbouring Jewish people in their bedrooms,” Delfing said he looks at these incidents as an “act of ignorance or fear.”
“Much like when the Green Party candidates and supporters accuse me of being a racist for questioning the intentions and actions of BLM (Black Lives Matter) in 2020,” he said.
“We all know it is no big secret,” he said. “I stand against forced, coerced vaccination and the vaccine passport program. Maybe these people fear their freedom.”
Delfing said he knows these acts aren’t random, noting it’s the same paint and marker moustache on every sign.
“This is driven by fear of change, the GPC (Greens), NDP and LPC (Liberals) do not fear the change I offer. We do not threaten their voter base like we do the CPC (Conservatives).”