Vandals have damaged campaign signs of two Kelowna-Lake Country candidates in the past week.
First was Stephen Fuhr, who had at least three signs vandalized with his face being coloured in with black marker. The vandalism happened after a photo was published last week of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with dark makeup on his face and hands while dressed as Aladdin in 2001.
Conservative candidate Tracy Gray, who had initially called the vandalism of her competitor’s signs “unacceptable,” was the most recent target of vandalism after one of her signs on Lodge Road in Lake Country was spray-painted with several vulgarities.
Gray did not provide photos of the signs to Capital News because she did not want to give the person responsible any “airtime,” but described the things written on her signs as “very vulgar.”
“We chose not to really comment on it or perpetuate it,” she said.
“I’m sure that residents here have other things to concern themselves with in their businesses and in their lives than whether or not I have damaged political signs.”
Gray said she informed Fuhr about his damaged signs as soon as she found out.
“A group of volunteers and I were door-knocking yesterday when this story broke, and residents told us about it on their doorsteps,” said Gray last Thursday afternoon.
“This morning our sign team was out checking on our signs and saw defaced signs.
“We reached out to (Fuhr’s) campaign to let them know and I called (Fuhr) directly to let him know that this is unacceptable and I do not condone this.”
Fuhr, seeking re-election as the Liberal Party’s candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country, said the vandalism to his signs was very unfortunate.
“I’m just trying to build a better community here,” said Fuhr.
“We raise money to pay for those signs and people volunteer to go put them out. To see people go out of their way to do something like that I think is really too bad.”
Last week Trudeau profusely apologized for dressing up as blackface and asked Canadians for their forgiveness during a press conference in Winnipeg after photos emerged that he dressup as blackface or brownface on three separate occasions.
“This is something that I deeply, deeply regret. Darkening your face regardless of the context or circumstances is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface. I should have understood that then and I never should have done it,” Trudeau said in Winnipeg.
The photos caused a global outcry and put Trudeau clearly on the defensive as his political opponents cited the controversy as a way to question his credibility.
“Like all Canadians I was extremely shocked and disappointed when I learned of Justin Trudeau’s actions this evening,” said Sheer.
“Wearing brownface is an act of open mockery and racism. It was just as racist in 2001 as it is in 2019 and what Canadians saw this evening is someone with a complete lack of judgment and integrity and someone who is not fit to govern this country.”
Despite the controversy, Fuhr said he stood by his embattled leader.
“The fact that he has taken ownership for it and has apologized is very important,” said Fuhr
“It is very clear that he doesn’t have any negative racial views, I’ve certainly never seen that. He has always been a great supporter of the LGBTQ community.”