September 04, 2015 - 11:35 AM
KAMLOOPS - The Conservatives, Liberals and New Democratic Party are being targetted by election sign vandals in Kamloops and the RCMP have launched an investigation.
Many of the large party signs across the city's south shore were flattened over the last two nights.
Cathy McLeod, the riding’s Conservative candidate, says because of the weight of the signs, the suspects would have needed trucks and chains to pull them down. There are tire tracks at each location and the two-by-fours holding them up are snapped.
“This is a crime. Obviously someone is targeting our campaign,” she says, calling the acts "orchestrated, purposeful and destructive." In some cases the smaller Conservatives lawn signs were ripped up and thrown away either into dumpsters or tossed into treed areas.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Liberal candidate Steve Powrie says he knows some of his signs were taken down, but plans to tally the damage this weekend.
"It's unbelievable. We were hoping to put more signs up, not replace them," he says.
Campaign signs from Valleyview to downtown were vandalized.
NDP candidate Bill Sundhu says he hopes staff from each campaign will "have each other's backs" and report if other party signs are down.
"It is vandalism. We've had to go out, retrieve signs and put them back up," he says.
Const. Jason Epp with the Kamloops RCMP says an investigator took over the file after the detachment received a call from McLeod's campaign manager yesterday, Sept. 3. He says the signs were either damaged, destroyed or removed entirely. The areas with the most damage were Juniper Ridge and Valleyview.
Epp says investigators are examining video surveillance to determine who the suspect, or suspects, are.
"If we can identify a suspect in this matter we will be looking at criminal code charges of mischief," he says.
Not only is messing with campaign signs consider mischief, it's also violates the Canada Elections Act which states, "no person is allowed to prevent or impair the transmission to the public of an election advertising message without the consent of a person with authority to authorize its transmission."
Powrie says he hasn't contacted the RCMP while Sundhu plans to speak with his campaign staff about filing a complaint.
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— This story was updated at 11:45 a.m., Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 to include comment from the NDP.
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