With less than 100 days left until Canada’s next federal election, politicians are busy campaigning to ensure their party’s success, with some citizens launching political campaigns of their own.
Recently the City of Red Deer’s Public Works department has removed as many as 24 stickers from ‘Stop’ signs around the City over the last week, with the stickers toting the word ‘HARPER’ underneath the word ‘STOP’. The stickers are part of a campaign aimed at Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“The City has been advised through a number of means such as public complaints and the ‘Report a Problem’ facet on our web site which allows residents to report graffiti and vandalism,” explained Greg Sikora, Public Works manager for the City. “They (residents) had identified the issue of the stickers on the signs and in response we have mobilized forces through our routine maintenance to remove the stickers.
“This is just another sign of vandalism and we will maintain those signs just as if someone had vandalized them in any other way – vandalism is not appropriate.”
Although no resident of Red Deer has stepped forward to take claim over what public works officials are calling vandalism, the stickers can be traced to the web site www.stopharperstickers.com.
The web site states the #StopHarper sticker campaign has reached 30 towns in six provinces in the first month of the campaign; with the site also stating the stickers are part of a ‘political art campaign’.
However, with neither the City nor the RCMP recognizing the signs as ‘political art’, officials from the local police detachment have stated defacing a traffic sign falls under the Criminal Code as mischief.
“Mischief charges under the Criminal Code of Canada fall into two categories, summary or indictable, depending on the type of property that has been damaged,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Shepherd, of the Red Deer RCMP. “In this case, vandalizing a ‘Stop’ sign would likely be a summary offence, which is punishable by up to six months in prison or a fine of up to $2,000.”
Meanwhile earlier this week, Colin Connon, assistant to local Conservative MP Earl Dreeshen, said Dreeshen will not be commenting on this issue.
The City invites residents to use the web site, www.reddeer.ca/online-tools, to report graffiti and vandalism they may see.