Criminal behaviour

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Something is seriously wrong with this community. I warned in a few issues previously that this election was in danger of becoming nasty, and, sadly, it seems it has. It is not just that some election signs have been vandalised. That is another sad fact of every election on every level. Some people, more often than not high-spirited deliquents, like to throw signs in a river or a ditch. Sometimes, the more serious ones like to write some obscenity on a sign, a less politically-charged action.

But what has been happening in North Grenville over the past week or two is far more serious than that, or than anything I’ve seen in previous elections in this community. Although other candidates have had the usual number of signs defaced, removed, or destroyed, it seems that a deliberate campaign of hate has been directed at one in particular. As of Monday, more than forty election signs for Nancy Peckford have been attacked, and in a manner that suggests personal venom, and not idiotic vandalism.

Interfering with election signs is an offense under the law, and perpetrators can be charged if caught. But surely we should be concerned with more than legal issues here? This behaviour is simply not what we expect from residents of this municipality. It has taken the atmosphere to a new low level that is, frankly, dangerous. This may seem like an over-reaction, but I believe the nature of these acts of political violence reflects something that has been going on on social media for some time.

Words and phrases have been used that go far beyond what is usually considered normal disagreements and criticism. The nastiness of some posts has been deeply disturbing, and aimed very directly at individuals, not their policies, beliefs, or attitudes. When people who disagree with you are considered, not just wrong, but evil, then a poison enters into things, and actions such as the ones we’ve seen directed against signs happens. At least it has been confined to inanimate objects.

Those who are responsible for destroying, defacing, or removing these signs are attacking our right to free speech, our right to express our support for a political candidate or party. Basically, attacking democracy as we know it. You are an enemy of freedom of expression, and you are breaking the law. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves (and apparently, these are the actions of more than one individual), but you probably think you’re some kind of activist. You’re not. You’re a vandal, a lawbreaker, and a menace to a free and open society. You have a vote through which to express your feelings towards candidates. That’s the democratic way.

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. And yet Poilievre shakes the hands of people waiving F*&k Trudeau signs and is latter chosen to lead the Loyal Opposition in the House of Commons!

  2. This is a sage, and articulate editorial. Such anti – democratic vigilantism as described, will not only influence negatively the excellent Community Service by our present mayor and Council, but also misrepresent the qualifications of one or more of the excellent candidates running for a first time, who do not have a political agenda parallel with those interfering in our community elections.

    I suggest that any person who feels strongly that an elected officer is not representing the Community as a whole, please curb your vandalism and reach out to that official in person and communicate your issue. That is the democracy we all desire including you – is it not? You may subsequently feel that you have been heard. Vandalism hides you. It does not represent you

  3. I certainly don’t support such vandalism but I am astounded at your hyperbole. Signs are inanimate objects. Real people have explained the hate they have experienced under the guise of your version of freedom of expression and you responded with something akin to “suck it up buttercup”. Perhaps the difference is that the signs aren’t gay.

  4. Yes, there is something seriously wrong with this community, and these articles you have been posting have contributed to it. Criminal behaviour?! Seriously? Then insinuating these “criminals” are from a community who feels unsafe in Kemptville—further inflaming hatred against them and actually creating a safety issue!? You have truly lost any objectivity and credibility. This is defamatory and unacceptable and an apology is warranted or step down. Why hasn’t our council stepped in to sort this out and apologize for this libel. First they hang us out to dry on the prison, now this. Who will be next? I for one am very fearful of what is to come for Kemptville if we don’t vote in change.

  5. In response to ‘anonymous’, David’s editorial was well written, timely, and appropriate … and he put his name to it rather than hiding behind the mask of anonymity. That takes courage – so thank you David.
    Interference in, and the undermining of, the democratic system can take many forms – the cowardly and anonymous defacing of posters and lawn signs is a crude attack on free speech. To then accuse someone who seeks to highlight the problem – again someone who put his name to his eitorial – is another attack on free speech and the press.

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