TORONTO — Kiru Kulendiren feels her constitutional right has been violated by vandals after a candidate’s sign she has on her property was damaged.
“Broad daylight, people are willing to commit a criminal offence — that is not right,” said Kulendiren, whose home security cameras caught the culprits in the act.
“This is not my Canada, destroying that sign is not my Canada.”
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The video show a blue car packed with what looks like young men, when one gets out and slowly walks up Kulendiren’s driveway in the Ninth Line and Derry Road Area in Mississauga.
The man then runs and dives head-first into the sign, knocking it down. He then does the same thing to the neighbours’ sign across the street.
“It’s a travesty of democracy, a travesty of civic engagement and it’s not a laughing matter,” said Kulendiren.
“For many people looking at the video it looks funny because it’s this rhinoceros move … but I could not laugh along because it’s a sad testament to the lack of seriousness around elections.”
There are some strict laws governing when and where homeowners can place election signs.
“They’re allowed to start displaying once the writ has been issued since August 4th,” says Mark Sraga, Director, Investigation Service at Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards.
“And since that date, we’ve only had 158 complaints.”
The city of Mississauga has not received any formal complaints about damaged signs so far. Kulendiren says other homeowners may not take this as seriously as she is, but she feels the sign on her lawn is a her property.
“Obviously I can’t put up a huge billboard with a cut-out of Brad Pitt, that’s not going to happen, but this is civic engagement, it’s protected under Elections Canada and elections law.”
Under the Canada Elections Act, it’s an offence to remove, alter, cover up or deface a candidate’s sign. If caught and convicted, the vandal could face a fine of up to $5,000 and or six months in jail.
Kulendiren says putting up the sign was not a decision her family made lightly. She wants the vandals caught and has filed a report with police.
“If this is ok for society, then is it ok for someone to do a running jump [at] your windows or your shed or your house?” she said. “When is it not ok?”