An editorial by Mel Rothenburger
IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE that election signs are being vandalized. It happens pretty much every election.
Usually, signs are knocked over and even stolen. Any sign that uses plywood for backing is especially enticing, because the wood is valuable.
Or, it might be a statement of sorts against the very idea of election signs, which a lot of people regard as unsightly clutter, or a protest against the state of politics in general.
Mostly, though, it’s pure vandalism, somebody who gets a twisted kick out of it.
What’s different about the round of vandalism that started last week is that it’s clearly identifying itself with a particular political party. A lot of the signs are being tagged with PPC.
Ken Finlayson, the People’s Party of Canada candidate in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, disavows the vandalism, saying it definitely is not something he or his party is responsible for. In fact, his sign crew has been helping clean up the signs of his opponents.
Finlayson should be commended for that.
But could it be the work of some misdirected individual who subscribes to PPC policies without being otherwise active in the campaign? I doubt it very much — I suspect it’s some random blockhead using the PPC’s initials as a convenient excuse to do damage.
Like it or not, campaign signs are a part of our democratic election process and need to be respected. As such, they’re legally protected. Anyone caught vandalizing them is subject to a hefty fine and even jail time.
To my knowledge, no one has ever been caught, convicted and penalized for election-sign vandalism in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo but there’s always a first time.
If someone is apprehended for this current outbreak, they should pay a heavy penalty.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.