It must be vote time: Signs swiped in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge

Liberals call thefts a form of intimidation after 75 taken in Pitt Meadows, Conservatives have lost 30

Liberal candidate Mandeep Bhuller still has some signs remaining in campaign office on Selkirk Avenue.

Liberal candidate Mandeep Bhuller still has some signs remaining in campaign office on Selkirk Avenue.

The Liberal campaign was dealt a blow over the weekend after someone systematically stole more than 75 lawn signs erected in Pitt Meadows and near the border of Maple Ridge.

The red-and-white plastic placards for Mandeep Bhuller were first taken from grassy stretches of public property along Hammond and Harris roads overnight Friday.

On Saturday, the signs were replaced but by Sunday, they were stolen again, including new ones placed along the on and off ramps to the Golden Ears Bridge.

“This is somebody who has driven through Pitt Meadows and taken our yard signs,” said riding president Brian Rice.

“They’ve pulled them out, put them in the back of their truck and kept driving. It is a serious blow in my opinion to people’s right to know that we are running. “

Bhuller’s campaign had just received the signs last week and likely won’t replace them with new ones as they take two weeks to print.

Knocked-over, destroyed or defaced signs are expected casualties  during an election campaign but Rice suggested this year, the vandalism is more malicious.

In Toronto, more than two-dozen people — including Liberal Bob Rae — have been targeted by vandals who’ve scratched car paint and slashed tires. The vehicles were parked at homes with Liberal lawn signs.

“This level of political interference is not common.  It’s not Canadian. I do feel that there has been a tone set,” said Rice. “When your sitting government has been found in contempt of parliament and doesn’t respect its own democracy, it’s hard to expect the populous to behave any better.”

The Liberals though aren’t the only party to report wrecked campaign signs.

Randy Kamp’s Conservative campaign has had 30 big signs destroyed and 20 others knocked down.

Kamp’s team works hard to get the signs back up right away.

He doesn’t believe the vandalism is being done by people working on rival campaigns.

“I’m not sure who it is. We expect it. It’s disappointing but we expect it,” Kamp said.

The NDP campaign meanwhile hasn’t experience any “targeted vandalism” while the environmentally-friendly Greens have few signs and have focused their campaign on the online world.

“As far as I can tell it’s the usual ‘the wind has blow down’ and the odd bit of ‘just walking by’ vandalism, which is more opportunistic and seems to be aimed at all parties,” said NDP candidate Craig Speirs. “Nothing out of the ordinary.”

• Ridge Meadows RCMP are looking for people who may have witnessed someone stealing the Liberal election or other vandalism. Anyone with any information is asked to call RCMP at 604-463-6251. To remain anonymous, call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.