With the municipal election just days away, candidate signs have been filling the streets of the Waterloo Region. Although the election period is often an exciting time, some candidates face unusual obstacles as they begin their campaigning.
Rob Brunette, a regional council candidate, has become a victim of campaign vandalism. His campaign signs throughout the city of Cambridge have been vandalized to read “Vote for work camps” instead of the original message, “vote for change.”
Brunette said he thinks the vandals are targeting his idea to open a self-sufficient homeless shelter in Cambridge; however, the motive is still unknown.
“I believe most of them [homeless residents] can do three to four hours of farm work, kitchen work and cleaning. I believe that this will give some of these people a feeling of not being so lost and unwanted,” said Brunette. “This is most likely why they were defaced.”
Brunette was initially saddened about the vandalism due to the expense of the campaign signs, but understands that not everyone will like his ideas.
“A lot of signs are being destroyed and stolen. It will happen. It’s unfortunate; these signs are not cheap,” said Brunette. ”Does it bother me? No. Some people will think that way and will not understand.”
Brunette has begun to replace the signs that have been vandalized.
Any person caught tampering with candidate signs can be charged under the criminal code with mischief. According to section 430 of the criminal code, anyone who willingly obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property is guilty of a summary or indictable offence.
Apart from receiving fines for damaging election signs, someone charged with criminal mischief can face jail time up to two years for an indictable offence.