A bit like burning books

Gee, who do you think trashed these campaign signs?

Noticing all the destroyed election signage in our neighbourhood, my young daughter asked, "Why are those signs all ripped?" She was pointing to lawn signs for the local federal Liberal and Conservative candidates in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway where we live.

Standing beside them untouched, the signs of the local NDP candidate. A typical site if you've ever paid close attention to Vancouver politics.

You can practically set your watch to it. If it's a local civic election, the NPA (centre-right coalition) signs will be trashed. The signs of left-leaning parties remain unscathed. Provincially, BC Liberal signs sliced by a sharp packing knife, 2×2 wood frames cracked and damaged, bag signs and wires bent and tossed into a bush. Their opponents – just fine.

You never get used to it. I'm sure someone can cite places in the city where the left wing signage is vandalized, but in my experience it's the exception rather than the rule in Vancouver.

Why does it happen? Young rowdies can be partly responsible, but as someone who has put up plenty of lawn signs in his time (I'm currently not involved in any fed stuff), the destruction is a little too methodical to only be kids full of cheap beer. The sign vandalism I describe is not a couple addresses on a block, but along entire thoroughfares and overnight.

Half a decade ago it was enough to trash the sign, or knock it down. Now signs are usually slashed with a sharp object. And it gets expensive – 4×4' signs are about five bucks each, and the wood and nails holding them up are at least that much.

Erecting signs, usually done by dedicated volunteers, or a bunch of retired guys with some time to spare, is hard, thankless work. If it's a Fall or early Spring election, you can bet that the sign team got cold and wet putting up those signs.

To me, knocking down an election sign is a form of barbarism. A bit like burning books.

In response to my little girl's question I reply, "selfish people, Sweety."