Julian Fantino offers to pay for cenotaph restoration
Historic monument in front of Richmond City Hall was damaged by graffiti between Feb. 24
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino says Ottawa will help pay for repairs to the Richmond cenotaph, which was vandalized with graffiti Tuesday.
Richmond RCMP say sometime between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. PT on Feb. 24, someone spray-painted the cenotaph in front of Richmond City Hall — built in 1922 to honour World War I veterans.
“Vandalizing a memorial to those who served Canada is shameful," said Fantino.
"The memories of the men and women who put their lives at risk to protect our country must be preserved, protected and honoured."
Police in Richmond are still looking for suspects in what they call a "shocking rash" of graffiti damage to local monuments.
Money in the federal government-run Cenotaph/Monument Restoration fund, is available to pay for repairs such as the Richmond Cenotaph.
The Richmond RCMP also condemn the vandalism.
"It is shocking to see this kind of damage to monuments in our community. It is disgraceful to deface a monument meant to remember our fallen soldiers," said Cpl. Stephanie Ashton in a statement.
Graffiti has also been found on Olympic legacy monuments and statues along River Road and in the historic Britannia shipyards.
"Graffiti work is something that's kind of a culture, and we do have experts that can often identify who the actual artist is based on what the damage is. Although I would be incorrect to call this artistry. This is damage to monuments. These are not things that we can paint over and fix easily," Ashton told CBC News.
The government is currently trying to pass a private member's bill that would mean harsher punishments for vandalism to war memorials.
Fantino said he wholeheartedly supports Bill C-217, which was tabled by Conservative MP David Tilson.
Anyone with information about who might be responsible for the Richmond Cenotaph incident is being asked to call the Richmond RCMP at 604-278-1212 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.