Kitchener-Waterloo

Perth-Wellington Liberal candidate has 100 signs defaced or stolen, campaign says

The Liberal candidate in Perth-Wellington says at least 100 of his signs have been stolen or defaced during this election campaign.

Signs reportedly stolen in Palmerston, Harriston, Clifford, Mount Forest and Arthur

The campaign team for Liberal candidate Pirie Mitchell in Perth-Wellington says they have seen at least 100 signs damaged or stolen since the end of September. (Submitted photo)

The Liberal candidate in Perth-Wellington says at least 100 of his signs have been stolen or defaced during this election campaign. 

Brendan Knight, who is part of Pirie Mitchell's campaign, said the campaign saw a significant amount of vandalism to election signs the last weekend in September.

He contacted Elections Canada after finding a number of his signs near Conestoga Lake.

"We have reports of damaged or stolen signs almost everyday, however on that weekend in September, it was the worse event to date," Knight said.

In Palmerston, 40 large signs and nearly all the small signs for Mitchell were removed, he said. 

"The theft of the small signs was particularly troubling, since some of them were not on main streets, but on crescents and our supporters are upset [at] the thought of someone driving around and taking signs off of private lawns," Knight said.

Signs were also stolen in Harriston, Clifford, Mount Forest, Arthur, Drayton and about 14 large signs were covered with graffiti in Stratford.

Then, on Sept. 30, the campaign received a call from the Grand River Conservation Authority. They recovered eight large and six small signs from the Conestoga Lake area, under the bridge on Concession Road 10, Knight said.

On Oct. 4, more signs were stolen in Listowel. In all, Knight estimates at least 100 signs have been damaged or stolen.

"The police have been contacted in all regions, but there are no suspects at this time," Knight said.

Other candidates impacted

Perth OPP confirmed they're investigating signs that have been stolen and damaged in Listowel, although Const. Barry Cookson said they didn't think just one party had been targeted.

"Some of them have been removed right out of the ground and thrown into a river or a creek, and some of them have just been uprooted and left on people's lawns," Cookson said.

Conservative candidate and incumbent, John Nater, has also seen signs damaged and stolen, his campaign managers said in an email to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.

"We've had a significant number of our signs stolen and damaged as well, as was the case in the last campaign. It's unfortunately something we've come to expect," said the email signed by both Warren Howard and Allyson Cardiff.

"But we think voters are more concerned about the issues affecting their lives, and which candidate is best able to address them."

Emma Dinicol, the campaign manager for NDP candidate Geoff Krauter, said their campaign has seen some sign damage and theft but it's been "fairly minimal."

"We definitely feel for the Liberal campaign. Signs are expensive, and we all depend on the donations of our supporters to help pay for them," Dinicol said in an email. "Theft or vandalism of election signs is a crime and should be taken seriously."

Mitchell, Nater and Krauter are also up against Green Party candidate Collan Simmons, People's Party candidate Roger Fuhr and Irma DeVries of the Christian Heritage Party in this riding.

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