North·NWT Votes 2019

Yellowknife Centre candidate apologizes after complaint of sign tampering

Julie Green said a volunteer on her campaign was caught 'tampering with another candidate's information.'

Julie Green said campaign worker was 'tampering with another candidate's information'

Julie Green outside campaign headquarters on Tuesday. She says a volunteer working on her campaign has been dismissed after violating the Elections Act by tampering with another candidate's campaign materials. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

Julie Green, a candidate for MLA in Yellowknife Centre, acknowledged in a press release Tuesday that a member of her campaign team had been caught "tampering with another candidate's information."

"A member of my campaign team had acted on their own and inappropriately by tampering with another candidate's information. I neither directed nor condone this action," the release states.

Brenda Kowana said she made a complaint to Nicole Latour, the territory's chief electoral officer, after it appeared a campaign worker removed an Arlene Hache sign from her hall door at Northern United Place and replaced it with a sign for Green.

Hache is also running in the Yellowknife Centre riding in the Oct. 1 territorial election.

"Yesterday morning, I went out for a cigarette in the morning, [the sign] was there," Kowana said on Tuesday. "When I was going out to leave my building at 11 o'clock in the morning it was gone… [and] there was a Julie Green poster on my door. And they ripped off my Arlene Hache one."

Kowana said she went to the building's reception to review security footage, and confirmed a man was going door-to-door in the building and had tampered with her sign.

"It made me really angry that I found this out," said Kowana, who voted for Green in 2015. "This time around, I'm all for Arlene Hache."

Kowana said she knew of at least one other resident, on the building's 10th floor, whose Hache sign was removed. She also said Elections NWT was reviewing the security camera footage at the building.

Latour confirmed Elections NWT was "managing a number of complaints" at Northern United Place.

Green regrets 'any negative effects'

Hache said she heard from two people that her signs had been tampered with. She said she also notified the elections office when she found out.

"I just feel bad because the people that put my sign on their door, they care," said Hache. "It mattered to them. They were really upset."

Hache said she had not spoken with Green about the incident. 

Speaking to CBC, Green said she was told Tuesday morning by the chief electoral officer that the complaint was "founded." Green said it was the result of "a volunteer that had taken some solo actions that were not sanctioned by the campaign."

She said that the volunteer is no longer a member of her campaign team.

"I asked them to resign, and they did," she said. 

Green said that she will be reviewing the Elections Act rules around campaigning with her team.

"I did not direct or condone this action by the volunteer, and I very much regret and apologize for the action that was taken," she said.

"I have reacted proactively to it ... I have apologized without reservation for the harm that it may have done. I want people to see that I'm taking responsibility, I'm providing leadership on this issue."

With files from Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi, John Last and Sidney Cohen.