Nipissing-Timiskaming candidates disappointed after election signs vandalized
This federal election campaign is bringing out the worst in some people in North Bay.
Signs belonging to the Liberal and NDP campaigns in the Nipissing-Timiskaming rising are being stolen, knocked over and, in a few cases, spray painted with vulgar remarks.
"To see people go out and actually spray paint and damage signs -- the vitriol coming out of some people and it's coming from a small minority," said Liberal candidate Anthony Rota.
Rota's signs have been knocked over and one was even spray painted with the words "F*** JT". In Nickel Belt, Rota's colleague Marc Serré's signs are also being vandalized.
Meanwhile, NDP candidate Scott Robertson said since the beginning of the campaign, his signs have fallen victim to vandals.
"It's extremely frustrating. They're doing a disservice to the district," said Robertson. "We're trying to bring change to this district and it's frustrating when that happens. When we have people tampering with election signs, it can affect the outcome of the election."
North Bay Police are on the lookout for anyone tampering with election signs.
"The property belongs to the person running for office," said Insp. Jeff Warner. "You could be charged criminally with a mischief offence or if you take the item, it's a theft."
Rota, who is seeking re-election, said he hasn't seen a political climate this intense for quite some time. He said he believes it's due to the nature of social media.
"What happens is the groups that are pushing it are pushing it more and more on social media it seems and they find each other and empower themselves," he said.
Rota acknowledged the growing tension at Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's campaign rallies.
CTV News reached out to the Nipissing-Timiskaming Conservative riding association for comment. Candidate Steven Trahan sent this statement:
"I have heard that my opponents Scott Robertson and Anthony Rota elections signs have also been damaged and stolen, as several of my elections signs has been spray painted and taken within the city as well outside the city.
"I wish people would respect the signs as a lot of hard work from volunteers from all of the campaign parties has been put in. I ask if anyone witnesses anyone causing damage or stealing elections signs to take photos of the person and contact either the North Bay Police Service or the Ontario Provincial Police to report the incident."
Police are encouraging anyone who sees election sign tampering taking place to call them.