Candidate draws the line on vandalism
If you want to deface an election sign, look for one promoting Montreal mayoralty candidate Tyler Lemco.
“You can vandalize this sign,” his posters read, with plenty of white space around his face that passersby have been filling with doodles, drawings and social-media handles.
While police investigate hateful graffiti scrawled on signs of more traditional candidates, Lemco is happily posting photos of his disfigured mug on his campaign Facebook page.
“It parallels well with the whole point of my campaign, which is to try to motivate people to speak up and use their voice and not just be so complacent,” Lemco, 29, told the Montreal Gazette.
“I also wanted to to see what they would draw all over my face,” added Lemco, a writer and You Tuber. Montrealers have targeted his photo with lipstick, unibrows, pointy ears, eye patches and vampire teeth. Though he doesn’t understand it, his favourite was: “Toy Story 2 was OK.”
He has put up 20 signs, with another 15 set to be posted in the coming days.
Lemco has no platform but is gathering ideas during “bar-tobar” campaigning. Top gripes from voters: road construction, potholes, irresponsible government spending and the pit bull ban. If elected, “I’ll do my best to right all those wrongs.”
It’s his first election campaign, but not his first election-sign campaign. In the 2015 federal election, he put up several posters featuring his name, his face, a city of Montreal logo and his slogan: “Not running for anything, I just wanted a sign.”
Lemco does not condone vandalizing other candidates’ signs.
“If someone is putting the money and the time and effort and energy into campaigning properly, it’s not cool to draw all over their signs,” he said. “So just draw on my face.”
Several cases of vandalism have marred the Montreal election.
On Twitter, Denis Coderre, running for re-election as mayor of Montreal, posted a photo of one of his signs defaced with a swastika over his face. “This act is totally unacceptable and is to be condemned,” he wrote. “This is a hate incident that cannot be tolerated.”
In the Côte-des-Neiges/ Notre Dame-de-Grâce borough, a vandal targeted a Projet Montréal sign featuring photos of three female candidates — leader Valérie Plante, borough mayor candidate Sue Montgomery and incumbent councillor Magda Popeanu. The word “sluts” was scrawled over their faces in red marker.
Montgomery, a former Montreal Gazette reporter and an advocate for women who have been sexually assaulted, denounced the vandalism, saying she entered politics in part to fight sexism and misogyny.
Luc Ferrandez, running for reelection as Plateau-Mont-Royal borough mayor, saw several of his signs plastered with printed stickers with the hashtag #fucklucferrandez.
In Park Extension, several Coalition Montreal posters were slashed, including those for city council candidate Mohammad Yousuf, whose
If someone is putting the money and the time and effort and energy into campaigning properly, it’s not cool to draw all over their signs. So just draw on my face.
signs include messages in eight languages spoken in the district — Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Tamil, Greek, French and English.
“I don’t have any personal problems with anyone,” said Yousuf, a journalist of Bangladeshi origin who is Muslim. “It could be Islamophobia or racism because my name is Mohammad Yousuf.”
Regarding the vandalism complaints received, police spokesperson Daniel Lacoursière pointed out, “It’s not the first year we have an election, not the first time we see this kind of vandalism.
“If there’s a complaint, it’ll be investigated as far as it can be,” he added. “If it’s mischief because someone painted the face of the candidate and there’s no suspect, no camera, a file will be opened but there won’t be an investigation. It will go as far as it can go with the information we can get.”
Though he wasn’t running in the 2015 federal election, Tyler Lemco put up several posters featuring his name, his face and his slogan: “Not running for anything, I just wanted a sign.” Now, Lemco is offering up his municipal election campaign posters to give vandals an outlet.