Candidate ‘disappointed’ by racial slur defacing her election sign
Supporters of Liberal candidate Aman Gill who arrived at Gill’s campaign headquarters Saturday morning found a racial slur spray-painted on the large election sign outside.
The word “Paki” in black paint was beside Gill’s name and photograph.
Gill, who had been told about the disturbing vandalism, drove a different route to the building at 5010 76th Ave. so her 10-year-old daughter wouldn’t see it. “I think she’ll be quite hurt,” Gill said in her campaign office. She reached across her desk for a tissue, then brought it to her teary eyes.
“To me, I don’t understand. Why would someone do that? This is low thinking. We live in Canada. You’re trying to make change, you’re working hard. And I’m not sure why someone would do that. (I am) just disappointed.”
The 33-year-old is taking a second run at the Edmonton-Mill Creek riding, hoping to unseat incumbent Tory Gene Zwozdesky.
Like other candidates, Gill has seen her posters and signs pulled from people’s yards — many this month — but said she has never come across such blatant racism on the campaign trail. Gill’s supporters called Edmonton police.
Campaign co-ordinators have been told the vandalism may be treated as a hate crime in the future, but at this point it is being handled as a mischief investigation, police spokesman Dean Parthenis said. “What has happened to the candidate is obviously quite disturbing,” Parthenis said.
Police had no suspects Saturday. The spray-painting happened sometime between campaign organizers leaving the office at 10:30 p.m. Friday and returning Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
“To me, I consider myself Canadian,” she said. “I’ve been here 15 years. This is mycountry. This is myplace. Weall deserve respect. Why would someone ever do something this low to someone? I thought this was over years and years ago, honestly. We live in a multicultural country.” Gill is originally from India.
Retiring NDP MLA Raj Pannu, who is also from India, said he never came across such a blatant racial slur.
“I ran in three campaigns and none of those campaigns ever ran into this problem,” Pannu said. “It’s regrettable that someone has decided to target (Gill) this time around because of race or appearance.”
While it is hard not to take such a slur personally, Gill “should take it in stride,” Pannu suggested. “I’d be more inclined to attribute (the vandalism of Gill’s sign) to Friday night stupidity than a deliberate attempt to attack her.”
Edmonton-Mill Creek Liberal candidate Aman Gill stands by a defaced campaign sign.