Ontario Votes: sign vandals strike in some Ottawa ridings
PC candidate Randall Denley says he lost more than 100 signs this past weekend
Many candidates say they've accepted some level of vandalism to their campaign signs, but unusual and sometimes costly damage has at least one candidate concerned about "a concerted campaign" of vandalism.
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"In a whole campaign you might get 100 signs destroyed, not in one weekend," he said.
"What I'm seeing isn't just kids kicking them over, it's people with tools, they're slashing them to pieces so we can't use them again. To me this looks like a concerted campaign by somebody."
"Every campaign loses some but this is targeted, on Meadowlands (Drive)... every PC sign destroyed and every Liberal sign intact," he said.
Other campaign teams in the riding say they haven't been spared. Liberal Bob Chiarelli's signs have been knocked down, NDP Alex Cullen's have been cut up and Green Party Alex Hill's signs have been burned, campaign workers say.
Generally, politicians learn to live with it
In Ottawa South, both Liberal candidate John Fraser and PC candidate Matt Young said some of their signs have been burnt down.
"That's kind of an unusual way of destroying a sign, it's a lot easier to knock one down than set it on fire — and a bit more dangerous," Fraser said.
Young's campaign said one woman who had her lawn sign set on fire simply called them back and asked for a bigger one.
McKenzie, a former school board trustee, said she's come to accept that vandalism happens across all levels of campaigning.
"This is my third campaign, I think the first time it happened to me I thought more about it but I'm much more pragmatic this time," she said.
"We let people know and we fix it and we move on."
Ottawa police said they haven't received enough complaints about damaged signs to put out an advisory to the public.
They said anyone caught damaging an election sign faces a criminal mischief to property charge, which could result in a fine or jail time.
Sign damage sample
On mobile? Click here to see a sample of some damaged signs in the Ottawa area and what's being done. You can also tweet @amkfoote (and the relevant candidate, please) if you see a damaged sign.