Kelowna-Lake Country MP's signs hit with 'brownface' vandalism - InfoNews

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Kelowna-Lake Country MP's signs hit with 'brownface' vandalism

MP Stephen Fuhr's sign has been defaced in the manner of the brown face scandal.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED STEPHEN FUHR
September 19, 2019 - 10:42 AM

KELOWNA - It didn’t take long for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “brownface” scandal to cast a shadow over Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr’s campaign.

Five or six of his campaign signs were vandalized overnight, with someone taking a marker to Fuhr’s mug and colouring it black.  

“The first I heard of it was when I woke up. My phone was lighting up… and people were sending me photos,” Fuhr said, adding that the signs were placed fairly far apart but look so similar he believes it to be the work of one person.

“It’s super sad. I’m just trying to build a better community.”

It’s also an affront, he said, to those who support him, donated the money for the signs and are taking part in the democratic process.

“And it’s illegal,” he said.

It’s undeniably a way to tie Fuhr to the prime minster’s current scandal though he said it’s not local and has nothing to do with him or his campaign.

That said, he supports Trudeau and believes he's contrite.

The scandal was ignited by a 2001 picture taken at an “Arabian Nights”-themed gala of Trudeau, 29, wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands completely darkened. The photograph, discovered by TIME, appears in the 2000-2001 yearbook of West Point Grey Academy, where Trudeau was a teacher. Similar images from around the same time have also emerged.

“The prime minister has been clear. He apologized and didn’t think it through back then… we have evolved and know (brownface) is not OK,” Fuhr said. “He is not a racist. There is zero racism in him, I’ve never seen it.”

The opposition, he said, is trying to make hay of the brownface issue so they can divert away from conversations about policies.

“This conversation will be beneficial in the long run but right now this is for political gain,” he said.

Fuhr also said that if the conversation is about equality and fairness, it would be better to look at the record of the party leaders and how they’ve voted on matters of equality, such as Bill C-16, than focus on an issue from years earlier. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, he said, voted against C-16, which amended the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

“If Canadians want to get into a divisive conversation about who they like the least, we will end up in a bad place,” he said. “Some people will vote for the prime minister and party line and some will vote for local representation if they feel that person has brought things to the community.”

What they should look at, he said, is policy and he argued Canada and his riding are in a better place environmentally, and socially since the Liberals took power. 

Conservative candidate Tracy Gray has made a statement about both the scandal and the signs. In a Facebook post late last night, she said that she was disappointed in Trudeau for his actions.

That, however, doesn't make the sign defacing acceptable.

"Our sign team was out this morning saw one of the other candidate's signs defaced," Gray wrote in another post this morning.

"I reached out to their campaign and the candidate directly to let them know. This is unacceptable and I definitely do not condone this behaviour."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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