FALL RIVER: The four candidates in Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank might not agree on policy, but there is one thing they all do agree on—sign vandalism and damage is uncalled for.
PC Dan McNaughton; Trevor Sanipass of the NDP; the Green Party’s Anthony Edmonds; and Liberal incumbent Bill Horne, who’s seen the most sign theft and vandalism of them all as of May 16, were displeased hearing about signs along Highway 2 in Fall River and other areas, including Beaver Bank having damaged.
There were 23 signs of Horne’s located strewn about on the dirt at the new football field on High Road in Fall River. Horne has since retrieved those and put most of them back up.
“There seems to be a number of my signs gone, especially the four-by-four signs,” he said. “Some of them have been marked up and the two by two signs that I had are gone. It might be an HRM thing that they were picking up signs that were on their properties, but there were signs on people’s properties that have been taken too.”
One of the signs of Horne’s that was broken was by Sunnylea Road in Wellington.
Having signs broken or stolen is just part of an election, Horne said.
“It’s something that has happened in almost every election I have been involved in, between Barry (Dalrymple when he ran for HRM council), and myself,” he said.
As Horne explained, the only people the theft and breaking of election signs hurt is the candidate in costing them more money and the volunteers who installed them.
“I think the next time I’ll put up some cameras on the signs to figure out who is doing it,” he said. “Somebody has got it in for us, maybe, thinking it is the smart thing to do. It’s not.”
McNaughton said if he finds out there’s a number of his signs removed or defaced he would be asking for a police investigation. Before the writ was dropped, he found out the costs to have a sign destroyed, with one of his own “Let’s Talk” signs damaged at Windgate Drive.
“The destruction or removal of a lawfully placed election sign is a crime,” he said. “It should be reported to the police.”
He has all the confidence in the world that none of the candidates were involved in the destruction or removal of the signs.
“We’re all far better than that,” said McNaughton. “It’s obviously the work of some vandals, and hopefully the police will get a tip and be able to find out who is responsible.”
A campaign worker at the headquarters for Sanipass in Fall River said on May 15 that they had not received word of any missing or damaged signs, but were going to go check on theirs in the area. There was one spot where a Sanipass sign was spotted on May 13, but it was no longer there on May 14.
Edmonds said in a tweet message that any sign damage is unprofessional.
“I strongly condemn any attempt to silence political debate, including damage to election signs,” said Edmonds in his statement. “The freedom to express political ideas is core to a healthy democracy.”