Alberta Party candidate for Calgary East Gar Gar caught the moment his campaign sign was vandalized by a disgruntled landlord on video.
According to Gar, the sign was requested by some tenants who lived on the property. Shortly after he installed the signage, Gar was accosted by the landlord.
“I’m saying you take this right now or I’m going to kick it apart,” says the man before vandalizing the Alberta Party candidate’s campaign sign right in front of him.
Advocacy for tenant rights
According to Gar, the woman in the video seemed threatened and subdued by the landlord’s aggressive behaviour.
“My mom used to tell us: just be quiet, don’t get involved and don’t put yourself into trouble,” said Gar. “That’s what I saw in that woman’s face, it said: what did I just get myself involved in?”
Shortly after the incidents in the video, the woman approached Gar to tell him that he still had her vote.
When describing the incident, Gar said that he was concerned about tenant rights in a riding in which a lot of people rent their homes.
“Maybe there’s fear and intimidation and somebody feels that, am I going to get in trouble for exercising my right?'” asked Gar, citing low election turnouts for Calgary East.
Police notified and are aware of the incident
The Post Millennial has confirmed that Gar has spoken to the Calgary Police about the incident.
“When we filed the report, we felt that where does this incident fall under: does it fall under mischief, does it fall under breaking laws, and I think it still comes back to who has the right,” said Gar.
“I think there are gaps. Election Alberta changed the laws and I don’t think those laws were conveyed to renters or landlords, so there are some big misunderstandings.”
According to Alberta’s Election Act landlords do not have the authority to prohibit or remove election signs posted by their tenants, however they can set certain conditions on the size and placement of said signs in common areas.
Gar feels that these incidents discourage people from voting
“He doesn’t have a right to intimidate,” said Gar. “When things like this happen we are just giving people more reasons why they shouldn’t live in this riding, why they should feel that they are not at home.”
This isn’t the first time that Gar has had his signs vandalized, in another incident somebody spray painted his signage with the message “Vote for your future.”
Citing his past fleeing from a war torn country, Gar said that it’s crucial for people to be able to feel comfortable to practice their rights in a democracy, and events like these threaten Canada’s hard-won rights.
Sign tampering a common problem in Alberta’s heated election
Alberta RCMP have warned citizens that election sign vandalism is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada after several instances of sign tampering have been reported ahead of the province’s May election.
It seems that almost all of the parties in Alberta’s recent election have faced some form of sign vandalism.
In a recent publicized case, fake UCP signs were posted in an area with the slogan “Alberta. Strong & Racist”.
In another instance NDP signs were vandalized with swastikas and profanity in Edmonton.
Gar’s message to the landlord
When asked if he had a message to say to the landlord, Gar said that everybody deserves a second chance and that it would be his responsibility to treat him equally as a constituent if he were to be elected.
“We as a civilized nation, we can agree to disagree. If you would have let me have a chance to continue my sentence, I would have said I was just going to bring the drill and come back to take it out,” said Gar.
“It affected the woman that I just saw who was vulnerable, just like my mother,” said Gar. “The first thing he should do is to apologize to that woman, you are a renter but you are a human being.”