Kelowna-Lake Country Liberal candidate Stephen Fuhr woke up Thursday morning to what he describes as a "zillion messages" on his phone after someone vandalized his campaign signs by colouring in the image of his face with a marker to make it black.
The racist blackface vandalism appeared less than a day after news broke of images and video of Liberal Party Lleader Justin Trudeau wearing brown and blackface in the past, including at a 2001 gala at a private school where Trudeau taught 18 years ago.
Fuhr said at least six signs were defaced all over Kelowna.
"It's unacceptable. There's so many ways it's wrong and the community is obviously not OK with it," he said.
"Someone or some people are obviously trying to tie me to a bigger discussion that's going on in this country and in the world and I think that's a conversation that we need to have. But you know, to bring me into it in the way that they did, I think, is unfair and is sad."
Fuhr said he had already ordered other signs before this happened, so he will go out and put new ones up.
Conservative Party candidates Tracy Gray for Kelowna-Lake Country and Dan Albas for Central Okanagan-Similkameen both tweeted that they do not support this type of vandalism.
Fuhr said many people in the community have reached out to let him know they think the vandalism is unacceptable.
"That gives me a lot of hope that it won't happen again and I hope it doesn't," he told Radio West host Sarah Penton.
Trudeau 'not racist,' says Fuhr
The Liberal Party has confirmed three cases of Trudeau wearing blackface in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Trudeau apologized to racialized Canadians from an event in Winnipeg Thursday saying: "What I did hurt them. Hurt people who shouldn't have to face intolerance and discrimination because of their identity. This is something that I deeply, deeply regret."
Fuhr said he doesn't think Trudeau should step down and he believes the apology he gave is genuine.
"We know that that's wrong and it's hurtful to a lot of people out there and it shouldn't happen," he said.
"I think the prime minister did the right thing. He apologized for it. I mean those photos are 15, 18, 20 years old when he was in his late teens, early 20s. And at the time, I don't think he knew, or he really fully understood what it is that that meant."
"I've got to know him over the last four years, and he is absolutely 100 per cent not a racist. That I can tell you definitively," he said.
"This is more about politics, I think, than anything else, personally. I think we should be having the conversation, because there is a lot of racism in this country and in this world, and we need to have that conversation. But I think this is less about that conversation and this is more about political parties trying to hurt or damage other political parties, as we head into a federal election here in Canada."