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Swastikas, 'Nazis' spray painted on Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill Liberal candidates' election signs

'There have been a concerning number of similar incidents throughout the country during this campaign,' candidates say
Aug. 25, 2021
Lisa Queen

Two York Region Liberal candidates woke the morning of Aug. 24 to discover several of their election campaign signs had been defaced with swastikas and the word “Nazis” scrawled across them.

York Regional Police are investigating vandalism to the signs of Newmarket-Aurora Liberal candidate Ton Van Bynen and Aurora--Oak Ridges -- Richmond Hill Liberal candidate Leah Taylor Roy.

The candidates said they are concerned the vandalism is among several similar incidents in Canada during the campaign.

"This morning, I was notified of acts of vandalism to some of my signs," Van Bynen, the incumbent candidate for the riding, tweeted the morning of Aug. 24.

"I am sorry to members of the Jewish community who had to see these signs along St. John's (Sideroad). There is absolutely no room for this kind of hatred in our community."

His campaign manager, Cameron McNeill, said Van Bynen’s team received calls from people alerting them to the defaced signs.

About eight spray-painted signs were found and taken down and volunteers went out into the community to see if they could find any more, he said.

McNeill said he doesn’t know who committed the vandalism or the reason behind it, saying the matter is in the hands of police.

In the afternoon, Van Bynen and Taylor Roy released a joint statement.

"This morning we were both disturbed and disappointed to learn that our campaign signs had been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti," it read. "We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and strongly condemn these vile displays of hatred. Hate in any form has no place in our communities or anywhere in Canada.

"We want to thank those who notified the police and express our gratitude to the York Regional Police for promptly investigating. Unfortunately, these events were not isolated. There have been a concerning number of similar incidents throughout the country during this campaign, and we hope Canadians will continue to speak out against hate and intolerance, no matter when and where it occurs."