History repeated itself in Yellowknife as a city politician broke out the cleaning fluids to repair rivals’ vandalized signs.
Niels Konge, running for re-election as a city councillor, spent his Friday morning cleaning a series of vandalized signs on Franklin Avenue’s hill leading down into Old Town.
Signs placed by mayoral candidates Rebecca Alty and Adrian Bell, as well as signs for council candidates Julian Morse and William Gomes, were among those daubed with graffiti including slogans and swastikas.
Konge’s actions mirror those of Robert Hawkins, who – while running for the position of Yellowknife Centre MLA in 2015 – was spotted cleaning up one of Alty’s municipal election signs.
“I saw Rebecca’s on my travels this morning,” Konge told Cabin Radio. “I’m going to do the whole hill, I guess.”
Morse, who said the large signs had cost him more than $200 each, said: “It happens. It is unfortunate.”
Konge himself was not affected as he currently has none of the larger signs on display in Yellowknife.
“I haven’t put any big signs out yet. Maybe I’m a bit too lazy. Or maybe I’m just too busy cleaning everyone else’s,” he joked.
Election sign vandalism has become a matter of course in Yellowknife. Also in 2015, then-council candidate Marie-Soleil Lacoursiere branded vandals ‘cowards’ when they attacked her signs.
After a number of her signs were attacked, she told Moose FM: “What is there to say? This kind of vandalism has nothing to do with my policies and leadership ability and far too much to do with me being a woman.”
Last year, a Yellowknife resident reported a child discovering swastika graffiti similar to that found on candidates’ signs on Friday.
In response, the City of Yellowknife told the CBC it dealt with multiple such complaints each year.
“It’s really important that we take a stand on this because there is this level of hatred in the world which, frankly, in Yellowknife does not reflect who we are as a community,” senior administrative officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett told the broadcaster at the time.