Liberal candidate in St. Catharines says car was vandalized while his family slept
Chris Bittle says the incident is 'clearly an attempt to intimidate me and my campaign'
Niagara police are investigating after a Liberal federal election candidate in St. Catharines, Ont., says his car was spray painted overnight Sunday while his family slept.
Chris Bittle posted a picture of the vandalism online Sunday morning.
The words "fu Liberals" appear to have been painted in white across the back of a black vehicle.
"This was clearly an attempt to intimidate me and my campaign," Bittle wrote, adding it happened as his family was inside their home. "I am disheartened to see this, but I know this isn't who we are as a community."
1/2 Last night, while my family and I were sleeping someone came onto my property to vandalize my car. <br><br>This was clearly an attempt to intimidate me and my campaign. <br><br>I am disheartened to see this, but I know this isn’t who we are as a community. <a href="https://t.co/5UuAv4lc5u">pic.twitter.com/5UuAv4lc5u</a>—@Chris_Bittle
The Niagara Regonal Police Service said it's aware of the incident, but could not share any more information as the investigation is ongoing.
The incident occurred just over a week before Canadians are set to cast their votes. During the campaign, signs have been vandalized and protesters, including those opposed to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, could be heard shouting vulgarities at events.
A St. Thomas man, who was recently removed as a riding association president for the People's Party of Canada, has been charged with assault with a weapon after gravel was thrown at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
NDP leader, Conservative candidate condemn vandalism
Following Bittle's posts, Krystina Waler, who's running against him as the candidate for the Conservative Party in St. Catharines, said she was "sickened" and shared some of her own experiences campaigning.
"It's one thing to disagree and protest against politicians," she wrote in a statement. "It's quite another to harass politicians at their home or target their families. That's never OK."
Waler said this election has seen too much of an "us vs. them mentality," adding her team has also been targeted.
"My volunteers are routinely yelled at, I've been spit on, our signs have been destroyed and our supporters shouted down," she wrote. "This will serve as a call to action for every candidate to stand up against this type of harassment."
Trecia McLennon, who represents the NDP in the riding, wrote on Twitter that "threats/vandalism do nothing to build community" and have no place in the election.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also took to social media to condemn the incident, saying "hateful spray paint" won't help build a better world.
"It's hard to see another example of the anger and hate that seems to be growing," reads his post. "This election is about helping people — about who you trust to fight for you and your family."
It’s hard to see another example of the anger and hate that seems to be growing.<br><br>This election is about helping people - about who you trust to fight for you and your family.<br><br>Hateful spray paint won’t help us build the better world we know is possible. <a href="https://t.co/Mc2KGFqMtj">https://t.co/Mc2KGFqMtj</a>—@theJagmeetSingh
Bittle's own posts about the vandalism include a message for the person or persons who carried it out:
"I will not be intimidated and I will continue to fight for St. Catharines."