Election sign vandals prowl West Nipissing

·3 min read

Mind your elections signs, West Nipissing, as your pledge of support may be in danger from vandals stealing and defacing signs in the area. Residents have been taking to Facebook to share their disgust of the act, most noting it’s no way to win an election and makes the community look bad.

Someone painted red devil horns on one of Kathleen Thorne-Rochon’s signs. The mayoral candidate commented on her campaign’s Facebook page that it “seems we have some budding artists in our community. I’m not really a fan of the style, but I do believe in promoting the arts,” she quipped.

She followed that comment with plug for an upcoming meeting at the West Nipissing art gallery. “If you’re looking for a constructive outlet to enhance arts and culture in our community, please check them out.”

See: Kathleen Rochon is West Nipissing’s first mayoral candidate

Current councillor Roland “Rolly” Larabie is running again for Ward 6, and a few of his signs were thrown into a marsh. Signs for Ward 2 candidate Christine Riberdy have also been spotted in a ditch.

Dave Lewington, also running for mayor, addressed the issue in recent video he posted to his Dave Lewington for Mayor Facebook page. In the video, Lewington stands along a roadway, holding one of his campaign signs. He mentions how some have gone missing and told the culprit that “if you like my sign that much, all you have to do is contact us and we’ll be happy to bring one to you.”

See: Third candidate enters West Nipissing mayoral race

“But in the meantime, please leave these where we put them.” He concluded the video by staking his sign into the ground, between signs for the other two mayoral candidates—"because I’m afraid that Ms. Thorne-Rochon and Mr. Roveda just might get lonely if my sign isn’t here between them.”

See: Dan Roveda is running for mayor of West Nipissing

Nipissing West and North Bay OPP are warning not to tamper with election signs and that any act of mischief committed in relation to election signs is a criminal offence.

"Recently, several occurrences have been reported to the OPP involving mischief to election signs posted at various locations. Those persons found committing such offences will be charged accordingly. In many cases these signs are posted on private property. Any person entering onto private property in order to attempt to commit an illegal act in relation to election signs is also guilty of trespassing," says Constable Phil Young.

The right to post such materials is clearly defined by statute. Deliberate destruction or unlawful removal is governed by the Criminal Code of Canada. Vandalism is a mischief charge while stealing signs brings a charge of Theft.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca