Election signs vandalism includes racist slurs

by Dylan Short - September 24, 2018

Three candidates running in the Yellowknife municipal election awoke Monday to some nasty vandalism of their campaign signs that included racist and anti-semitic slurs.

A sign for first time city council candidate William Gomes, who is originally from Bangladesh, was defaced to include a turban and a beard. Council candidate Chris Gillander, who is also running for the first time, was depicted on his sign wearing locks and a type of hat most commonly associated with orthodox Jews.

A campaign sign for Adrian Bell was vandalized over the weekend. Dylan Short/NNSL photo
A campaign sign for Adrian Bell was vandalized early Monday morning. Dylan Short/NNSL photo

City councillor Adrian Bell, who is running for mayor, was shown with what appears to be devil horns and a tail on his sign.

All three signs are on Old Airport Road across the street from the Yellowknife Direct Co-op and were vandalized with bright orange spray paint.

Both Gillander and Gomes called the offensive vandalism unfortunate but said they are not going to let it bother them or their campaigns.

“It’s sad they went that direction,” said Gillander. “Me being something I’m not doesn’t offend me by any means. I’m not someone who’s going to get riled up.”

Gomes added while his sign was defaced in the manner that it was, he doesn’t believe it was a targeted attack against him.

“I would consider it (targeted) if it was only my picture but it looks like all three of the signs were vandalized, so I don’t think that was an issue. They’re just getting an ultimate pleasure out of it,” said Gomes.

Bell noted the vandalism is something candidates need to factor in during every campaign.

“It happens every election,” said Bell. “It’s par for the course, those signs are placed in highly visible locations, they’ve got our faces on them, they’re brightly colored. I think they’re irresistible for the type of people who would vandalize other people’s property.”

Last week, Cabin Radio reported a number of signs near the Racquet Club downtown were vandalized with swastikas. Bell and Gomes were once again among those who had they’re signs de-faced. In the 2015 municipal election two female candidates, Linda Bussey and Marie-Soleil Lacoursiere, had their signs ruined by sexually suggestive graffiti. Lacoursiere told Yellowknifer at the time she believed she had been targeted because she was a woman.

Vandalizing a political sign is a federal offence that can result in a $5,000 fine or up to two years in jail.