The Liberal Party candidate for Canada’s federal election in the riding of Simcoe North, Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, had her election signs vandalized with swastikas, the latest case in an ongoing series of sign vandalism attacks across the country in recent weeks.
The vandalism was discovered in Tiny Township, Ontario, where multiple signs belonging to Wesley-Esquimaux were defaced along Highway 12 North.
The candidate told Barrie Today that she was not certain why the vandalism occurred.
“There are people who are angry because they can’t find work, or they are not well, or they have mental health issues. … There are people who have everything going on, so it’s hard to say.”
Wesley-Esquimaux called the defacement cowardly.
“It’s too bad that people have to resort to things like that to express themselves. They hide behind anonymity, they are too afraid to come forward to say what they need to say, so they use hate," she said.
She added that the Liberal Party has no idea who may have been behind the damage. She also said she will not ask the Ontario Provincial Police to investigate the defacement as a hate crime.
Wesley-Esquimaux told Midland Today that she “understands that people suffer, so I’m not too worried about it.”
“I’ve worked with people who have been traumatized, I’ve worked in an Indigenous community where there is so much hurt...my husband is a social worker... and is always talking to people who are hurting,” she said.
Canada’s federal election, which was called in mid-August, has seen multiple instances of candidate’s election signs vandalized with swastikas.
B’nai Brith Canada has previously noted that anti-Semitic incidents appear to increase in Canada during provincial and federal elections.
On August 26, it was reported that Randeep Sarai, the candidate in Surrey, British Columbia was the latest victim of the incidents.
Earlier in August, the election signs of Jewish politicians in Montreal, Quebec were defaced with swastikas.
MPs Rachel Bendayan, who represents Outremont, and Anthony Housefather, who represents Mount Royal, both shared photos on Tuesday of their vandalized election signs.
Several days later, Leah Taylor Roy, who is running on behalf of the Liberal Party in Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill, a riding north of Toronto, shared photos of a campaign sign defaced with a swastika and the word “Nazi.”