Signs featuring politicians of South Asian descent vandalized in Surrey
A SafeSurrey Coalition campaign sign is shown after vandals blacked out the names and faces of the only two South Asian candidates on the party's slate. Oct. 15, 2014. (Twitter)
Published Wednesday, October 15, 2014 2:39PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 15, 2014 3:20PM PDT
A three-time Surrey councillor says he and other politicians of South Asian descent are being targeted by vandals after dozens of signs were defaced over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Tom Gill found out through his Twitter followers that a Surrey First campaign sign featuring mayoral candidate Linda Hepner was struck by vandals, who crossed out only Gill’s name with a solid black line.
It turns out nearly a dozen of Gill’s signs were struck by vandals, he said.
“I haven’t experienced this particular issue in the past,” said Gill. “I think when you reflect on the diversity in Surrey, it’s one of the most, if not the most diverse city in Canada. There’s a lot of community, a lot of culture. That’s something we celebrate.”
The vandalism wasn’t limited to the Surrey First party. A SafeSurrey Coalition campaign sign was also defaced, with black spray paint covering up only the names and photos of South Asian candidates Rina Gill and Justin Thind.
Mayoral hopeful Barinder Rasode also appears to have been targeted, with pictures of several of her defaced campaign signs streaming in on social media.
Gill said he believes the vandalism is racially motivated.
“It’s hard to suggest otherwise, but certainly I was disappointed and disheartened,” he said.
Many took to Twitter to call attention to the signs and shame the perpetrators of the vandalism.
Some of Surrey's political parties even worked together to combat the apparently racist vandalism.
As of Tuesday, many of the signs appeared to have been replaced, Gill said.
“I just find that this may be an isolated incident,” he said. “I’m really pleased that people, individuals just wanted to have the situation corrected, and let’s carry on with the election.”
Municipal elections take place in cities across B.C. on Nov. 15.