For the second time in a matter of days, a Simcoe North candidate’s sign has been defaced and marred by hateful messages.
Earlier today, Green Party candidate Krystal Brooks found the sign on her own front lawn defaced.
“I just feel very sad,” she said via her Twitter account.
In a statement, she said she “was forced to remove the Green Party of Ontario sign on my front lawn because it was vandalized. On one side, it said ‘Go back to the reserve, b****.’ On the other side, it said, ‘Suck another one, w****,’ with a crude drawing on it.”
Today, I just feel very sad. #politics #onpoli #simcoenorth #OntarioVotes #OntarioElection2022 #ontario #cdnpoli #INDIGENOUS #NativeTwitter #racism #HumanTrafficking @MikeSchreiner @AbhijeetMonet pic.twitter.com/yBp9R40uVU— Krystal Brooks (@KrystalKwe123) May 16, 2022
Brooks said she has heard such statements before and “they do not shock me. What shocks me is the overwhelming amount of support coming from this riding and beyond. It’s beautiful to see.”
Provincial Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner commented on Brooks’ post:
“I am so proud to have you as an Ontario Greens candidate. I stand with you against racist hate and misogyny. You have a strong voice and lived experience that needs to (be) heard at Queen's Park.”
Brooks said the defaced sign and “cruel” message likely come from the anger many feel about politics.
“I know many of you are angry. Angry with politicians. Angry with the system. I, too, am angry. You have every right to be angry. You do not have the right to express that hate in this manner,” she said in the statement.
She said politics needs to change.
“It has never been a welcoming place for women or marginalized people,” said Brooks. “My lived experience is something Canada and Ontario have never seen in the world of politics before.
“I don’t possess an impressive resume or education. In fact, I do not even hold a high school diploma,” she said. “I do have my journey that I openly share in the hopes to encourage, inspire and create a safety net for others to do the same.”
Brooks, who says she is a survivor of the child welfare system, human trafficking and other forms of abuse and trauma, has struggled with mental health and addictions previously. She has experienced homelessness, lived in shelters and has experienced racial barriers.
“I succeed and persevere through it all despite how unwelcoming politics is. I will continue to do that on behalf of myself, my family and all the living and non-living proof out there of the many failures the system has yet to account for,” said Brooks.
“Today, I am thinking of all of my fellow candidates who have ever had to experience hate for simply existing.”
This is the second incident in Simcoe North in the past few days. On Friday, Liberal candidate Aaron Cayden-Hiltz reported some of his election signs — including one in front of his home — were smashed.
“Violence and intimidation have no place in our society or our political process,” he said in a media release. “When someone tries to limit a voter’s free speech by wrecking the sign on their lawn, or tries to intimidate a candidate by committing vandalism where they live, it is not an attack on that one individual; it is an attack on all of us.”
The first-time candidate said he is not deterred and will continue to campaign.
“No amount of petty vandalism will ever intimidate or deter us from our right and yours to participate in the democratic process,” he said.
Both candidates said they reported the incidents to the Orillia OPP.
Orillia OPP Const. Brett Boniface said officers from the local detachment are investigating both incidents and have "canvassed both areas for any video surveillance or witnesses who may have observed these mischiefs occur."