TORONTO, Ont. – Two additional cases of vandalism have been reported and what is believed, but not yet confirmed, to be a politically motivated crimes.
On Friday night, cars had their tires punctured or slashed on Howland Avenue, near Bloor and Bathurst, located in the Trinity-Spadina riding.
On Saturday at Spadina and Bloor, five cars and eight bikes had their tires punctured and paint scratched.
The first of these incidents began on Thursday night in the St. Paul riding, near Bayview and Eglinton area. Nineteen cars were damaged.
The targets appeared to be cars belonging to homeowners with lawn signs for Liberal incumbent, Carolyn Bennett.
Bennett said she has a theory on what is behind the violence. “I don’t think there is anything random about this. These are Liberal supporters being targeted. This is intimidation of it’s worst kind,” she said.
Olivia Chow, the NDP MP for the riding of Trinity-Spadina, issued a statement condemning the vandalism as, “an affront to the democratic process and freedom of expression.”
A statement from Liberal candidate Christine Innes also called it an attack on democracy.
It is not only party supporters being targeted, but candidates too. Both the NDP and Tories in the riding said their lawn signs regularly disappear.
Bob Rae, Liberal candidate for the Toronto Centre, Tweeted last night that the left front tire on his car had been slashed; however, it is yet to be confirmed if it is related to these incidents.
One woman who had her tires slashed told CityTV that she refuses to be intimidated “Makes me feel stronger than ever that I don’t have my sign,” she said.
Josh Matlow, City councillor for Ward 22 in St. Paul’s riding, is offering his help to residents who are nervous about being targeted if they leave their car in their driveway. He issued the following notice to the residents of St.Paul’s in Ward 22:
There have been reports of cars being vandalized at homes posting lawn signs for the Liberal Party candidate running in the federal election.
This criminal activity is not only an affront to our democratic principles but endangers our residents.
I have been in contact with 53 Division and understand that the residents targeted have had their cars parked in their driveways or parking pads.
Obviously, each resident posting a political lawn sign has an option to remove it if they are concerned. Participating in an election, and demonstrating support for a candidate or party, is an integral part of our democratic process. I urge you to do what makes you feel comfortable.
However, I want to contribute an option for Ward 22 residents who wish to keep their lawn signs posted.
If you are a resident of my ward who has chosen to post a lawn sign on your property for any candidate or party participating in the federal election, and are concerned about the safety of your property due to the recent attacks, I invite you to park your car on your street overnight until 8am, even if you do not have street permit parking, until election day on May 2nd, 2011.
Parking enforcement will continue tagging cars that do not belong on your street and you may still receive a ticket. If you are tagged, please call my office at (416) 392-7906 or email us at email@example.com and we will arrange with Parking Enforcement to withdraw your ticket.
Please feel welcome to share this information with your neighbours.
In addition, if you witness any criminal activity or something suspicious that is not an emergency please call Toronto Police Service 53 Division at (416) 808-5300.
I do hope this measure will be of assistance to you.
Ward 22, St. Paul’s
Toronto police are asking anyone who may have seen anything suspicious to call them, and to keep an eye out in their neighbourhoods.
In the St. Paul’s incident police are looking for a person of interest; White male, wearing a dark leather jacket, blue pants and a white baseball cap.
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