Delta federal election Liberal candidate Carla Qualtrough says she’s never experienced so much hateful acts of destruction.
In recent days, many of her campaign signs have been vandalized, some destroyed by being covered with paint, while others have been hit with hateful graffiti including swastikas and anti-LGBTQ messages.
Someone even printed up stickers with hateful messages to post on signs, she said.
Qualtrough noted the outside of her North Delta campaign office has also been vandalized and people have even driven by shouting obscenities.
“I’ve escaped the previous two elections with almost teenage antics like goatees or horns or little mustaches sprayed on my campaign signs. We’d go out there and cover them up, but it wasn’t hateful and it wasn’t angry,” she said.
“People would also leave boxes outside my campaign offices in the evening with rude comments and my constituency office door was vandalized with anti LGBTQ stickers. This is a campaign but this is really heightened, aggressive and hateful. The police were even involved and were the ones who told me about my constituency office being vandalized. Someone had called police to report it and make sure everyone was OK.”
She said the office has new safety and security protocols to ensure volunteers are not alone and subject to abuse.
The format of how her campaign is being run has had to change due to safety concerns and police had to further tighten her and her family’s personal security, she added.
“I’m not intimidated by this and I’m not questioning my resolve to continue to fight for our community to root out hatred and racism and discrimination. I can’t imagine being a Jewish member of our community seeing swastikas or a member of the LGBTQ2 community seeing these hateful things. I think we’re better as a community. These are clear demonstrations by a few that people are not welcome.”
Qualtrough added the regular occurrences of sign vandalism has usually been at the same Delta locations.
“We’d go out at the same locations to replace a signs and it’s vandalized a night later,” she said. “There’s at least 20 of my bigger four-by-fours that were vandalized, but I think my campaign team would say that’s a low number. This has become a new part of our campaign that we’ve never had to do before as we need people with pick-up trucks to help clean up the mess. It’s really frustrating because it’s just unnecessary and it doesn’t seem the other political party signs are being hit.”
Conservative candidate Garry Shearer and his campaign reached out to the Optimist late Monday afternoon with a statement.
“We condemn the vandalism of campaign signs in this election. We too have reported the vandalism, destruction and theft of our signs to the Delta Police over the course of the campaign. We encourage all Deltans to participate in this election at the ballot box or by volunteering their time for a campaign, not through vandalism.
“We thank the Deltans who have stepped up as volunteers on all campaigns for their work putting up signs, canvassing door-to-door, and connecting with their neighbours to encourage them to get out and vote.”
A spokesperson for Elections Canada said the agency can’t comment on the issue of vandalism as it’s a police matter.
The Optimist has reached out to Delta Police for comment.