BY: Surjit Singh Flora
With just days left in the federal election campaign, a local candidate is decrying “dirty politics” after some of her lawn signs were stolen and vandalized.
Brampton South Liberal incumbent Sonia Sidhu posted a video on social media Monday that shows a group of unidentified individuals exiting their vehicle in front of several campaign signs her team had placed in a residential neighbourhood around 1:30 a.m. The individuals proceeded to tear up and steal at least two of the signs, as shown in the video.
Sidhu said that while she has run a positive campaign, her “opponents have not.”
“I committed to running a positive campaign. I’ve lived up to that promise… I am not angry, I’m just disappointed,” Sidhu wrote in a series of responses to the video. “There were countless instances of vandalism and theft of my signs that has happened over the past weeks. I have had hundreds of signs damaged, hidden, or go missing. Just this week, a child saw a vandalized sign, told his parents, and they called us.”
While Sidhu indicated that she wasn’t sure if she wanted to bring awareness to the issue, she decided that “enough is enough.”
“I’m fighting for Brampton South. I’m going to keep fighting,” said Sidhu regarding the matter, which garnered responses from other Brampton residents who have experienced similar vandalism towards campaign signs on their property. “To my opponents: signs don’t vote, people do.”
Sidhu is not the only local candidate to bring awareness to the issue of sign vandalism. When I reached to Fellow Brampton South Conservative candidate Ramandeep Brar, He said he has been running a positive campaign and condoned the behavior and vandalism he saw in person and on social media.
“It’s unforgivable, (and) it has no place in an election,” said Brar, about the incident. “We can always disagree on issues of policy, but I think all candidates… are unified in that vandalism and theft of signs is just disrespectful to the candidate, and the volunteers who donate their time putting those signs up. I think we are all unified across all campaigns on this issue.”
Brar said that he and his team have received numerous pictures and videos since the beginning of the campaigning, highlighting the issue, with images showing signs being slashed, removed, and covered up by other candidate signs.
“We thought to let it go, (as) we believe in being positive,” said Brar, who indicated that his team only brought up the issue this week and had considered going to the police to investigate.
“It’s just annoying to me because they cost much money,” Brar added. “It’s wasting our volunteer time, it’s wasting our money, but it’s also disrespecting democracy.”
I reached out to Sidhu’s campaign office for further comments and were told that the matter had been referred to the police for further investigation but refused to make any future comments.