"'What happened in the early hours today is a despicable and cowardly act that endangered innocent people’s lives,' said Valeriote. 'The cutting of the brake lines was intended to at the very least to severely injure people, who have chosen to participate in one of the most important processes this country has to offer to its citizens- they chose to exercise this right and have a political sign on their lawn. We live in a lawful and peaceful society where we have the freedom to express ourselves politically. No one should be subject to this kind of violence and intimidation,' Valeriote concluded.
"Frank Valeriote and Tom King spent most of the day visiting and consoling the owners of the houses that have been criminally vandalized. 'I join Frank Valeriote in condemning these vicious attacks in our community,' said Tom King. 'The vandalism to political signs and the targeting of private homes and property must stop immediately. This kind of activity has nothing to do with the NDP or the Liberals. We’re sad to see politics take such an ugly turn. We hope the police will find the criminals responsible and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.'
"'Greens totally disapprove of any acts of vandalism. Political motivated attacks on people’s homes and property insults the values that Canadians hold sacred regarding safe a free elections' said Mike Nagy.
"Gloria Kovach agreed with all the candidates stating 'This is an escalation in behaviour and his kind of activity has no place in Guelph especially when we all strive for free and fair process.'
"All the candidates denounce the criminal violence, and give their sympathies to the victims whose private property was damaged."
One of the homes vandalized belonged to Frank Maine, who was the Liberal MP of Guelph under Trudeau in the 70s and later went on to sit as a Guelph City Councillor. The picture above, the graffiti mentioning C-68, is referring to both Canada's gun control laws and the first version of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Valeriote called the vandalism "voter intimidation" and the fact the the only houses targeted were ones with Liberal lawn signs out front is proof of that. What's especially disconcerting is the added danger of the brake lines of cars being cut. U of G professor Matthew Hayday mentioned in his blog that he had friends who lived "a few doors away" from some of the vandalized homes, and that leaving that neighbourhood is all downhill. Can you imagine what would have happened had police not been on the ball like they have? How many would have/could have died? Or at least been seriously injured.
Over on David Graham's blog the claws came out. First with a man that indentifies himself as Tom Robinson, who added this little gem to the debate:
"I wish someone would blow up the Liberal office, those fucking criminals.
Liberal are biggest theives, degenerates and scumbags in the world.
Fuck the Liberals, those dirty, fucking commies."
Tough talk that can only come from blanket of anonymity that internet all-too easily provides. Is this really the level we want to stoop to? Is this the country you want? Is this the town you want to live in? This kind of action doesn't win favour with anyone. How many more Frank Valeriote supporters do you, the fly-by-night bandits, think you've converted? Because the truth of the matter is you've probably created more sympathy for him. If Valeriote's supports are being terrorized by a bunch of thugs with spray cans and wire cutters, than he must be doing something right.
There's also the conspiracy theorists. The graffiti said NDP, but who really thinks that the NDP was behind this? I've talked to Tom King on many occasions and nothing about him really says, "Cyrus from The Warriors" to me. The next option being brandied about is that the Conservatives are behind, but really... what's the point? It seems a little low brow for the Conservatives, no matter how desperate they want to win Guelph. Gloria Kovach has condemed these actions and I have no reason to doubt her sincerity.
The other, slightly more wacked out, theory is that the Liberals defaced their own signs and the property of their supporters. Somebody mentioned Karl Rove at the thought, well I don't think even Rove would stare in the face of probable, bodily harm in order to score points with the public. Even you have to admit, right-wing bloggers, that's pretty cynical. That's sitcom politics, like something Homer Simpson would come up with. Actually...
SCENE: Sprigfield City Hall. The stage is set for the debate for santitation commissioner. Homer stands alone on stage. ENTER: his opponent Ray Patterson (voiced by Steve Martin), Patterson comes into the hall winded...
Patterson: Sorry I'm late, (accusingly to Homer) somebody tampered with my brakes.
Homer: Well you should have been on time then.
This entire, unfortunate situation smacks of immaturity at best, terrorism at worst. That's not a word I use lightly, but clearly the point was to scare people for their political opinion. But I wonder, why were the Liberals targeted? They're not the ones in power. Is it because of the recent Klr Vu poll that says they're ahead amongst voters, and thus that Guelph will stay Liberal. If you don't like that thought, then get out and volunteer for the candidate you do think is worthy of your vote and Guelph's. And if you don't have something positive to contribute than just don't bother to do anything. I think we call that the rule of Bambi's mother.