‘Dis­turb­ing’ elec­tion lawn sign un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - Lisa JOHN­SON @re­por­trix

An elec­tion lawn sign in Mill Woods, de­pict­ing Lib­eral Leader Justin Trudeau and Ed­mon­ton Mill Woods Lib­eral can­di­date Amar­jeet Sohi with crosshairs on their fore­heads, is be­ing looked into by Ed­mon­ton po­lice.

Po­lice said Thurs­day morn­ing they had not re­ceived a for­mal com­plaint about the elec­tion sign, which also read: “Save our coun­try. Vote out these A$$wipes,” in the Mill Woods rid­ing. How­ever, a po­lice spokesman said the Hate Crime and Vi­o­lent Ex­trem­ism Unit and In­te­grated Na­tional Se­cu­rity En­force­ment Team are look­ing into the mat­ter, and that by Thurs­day af­ter­noon po­lice had paid a visit to the prop­erty.

“Such a be­hav­iour does not be­long in my city – a city that has been home to me for 35 years. I’ve been door knock­ing since 2004, and my wife has been with me from day one. We have never ex­pe­ri­enced this kind of vi­o­lent ex­pres­sion of ha­tred,” Sohi said in an in­ter­view af­ter a photo of the sign was shared on­line.

“This is a dis­turb­ing mes­sage, but it’s also very rare. We all should take no­tice and con­demn them, but I also want to make sure that peo­ple un­der­stand how em­brac­ing, wel­com­ing and peace­ful our city is.”

There are se­cu­rity pro­to­cols with the RCMP for mat­ters in­volv­ing the prime min­is­ter and cabi­net min­is­ters, and those pro­to­cols are be­ing fol­lowed, a spokes­woman for Sohi’s cam­paign said in a writ­ten state­ment.

“Our cam­paign has not been in touch with the po­lice, nor have we filed a com­plaint,” said Alana Kite­ley.

An elec­tion sign for the rid­ing’s Con­ser­va­tive Party can­di­date, Tim Up­pal, a former fed­eral min­is­ter un­der Stephen Harper, was also dis­played on the lawn but re­moved by Thurs­day af­ter­noon. Sohi won the tightly con­tested rid­ing in 2015 by only 92 votes.

“Threats of po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence have no place in our democ­racy. I’ve in­structed my cam­paign to re­move our sign from this prop­erty,” Up­pal wrote in a tweet Thurs­day morn­ing.

By Thurs­day af­ter­noon, the crosshair sign had been al­tered to in­clude the words “tar­get your vote,” but to Sohi, that did not change his view of the sign, or lessen the in­tim­i­dat­ing ef­fect that it might have had.

“I would be more con­cerned if this act, or demon­stra­tion of vi­o­lence and ha­tred, dis­cour­ages Ed­mon­to­ni­ans from openly ex­press­ing their po­lit­i­cal views and sup­port for di­verse po­lit­i­cal par­ties. We as a so­ci­ety are bet­ter off when peo­ple feel free — when we can agree to dis­agree with each other and still be re­spect­ful,” he said.

Ed Kaiser/post­media

Ed­mon­ton po­lice de­tec­tives are seen in­ves­ti­gat­ing a home in Mill Woods that dis­played two elec­tion signs de­pict­ing Lib­eral Leader Justin Trudeau and Lib­eral can­di­date Amar­jeet Sohi with crosshairs on their fore­heads on Thurs­day.

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