Two volunteers have left the Brampton Centre Conservative team, days after Liberal candidate Ramesh Sangha released video showing two men he alleges work for Tory candidate Bal Gosal destroying other candidates' signs.
It's unclear whether Gosal dismissed the volunteers or they resigned from the campaign in the Greater Toronto Area riding.
"Our campaign respects the democratic process and does not condone vandalism," Gosal's communications director Robert Lynch wrote in an email. "The individuals in the video are no longer volunteering on this campaign."
A Liberal campaign volunteer captured the footage showing two figures dressed in dark clothing kicking down an election sign at the side of the road on Tuesday night.
The video fades briefly to black and then begins again with the camera moving toward two men wearing jackets emblazoned with the logo Team Gosal. The Conservative volunteers are seen driving their sign into the ground, as one man holds a flashlight in the darkness.
The camera pans to show a crumpled Liberal sign for Sangha and a broken NDP sign for candidate Rosemary Keenan lying nearby.
"I just caught you on camera doing that," the videographer yells out. "Look! Bal Gosal people, breaking signs."
A confrontation ensues between the cameraman and the volunteers, as one responds that he's just putting up a new sign.
"I don't care, I don't care, I don't broke," a volunteer says to the camera. "I do my job, OK."
"Breaking signs is your job?" the camera operator asks.
"Yes," the volunteer responds, walking off.
'Sign war going on'
Lynch sent an email statement after CBC News called Gosal's office requesting an interview Friday. The followup questions sent by CBC News to Lynch have yet to be returned.
The vandalism on Tuesday marks just one of many times that Liberal volunteers have found Sangha's signs destroyed, the candidate's media relations officer said Friday. Carey Miller could not say whether other parties also lost signs.
"But there's something of a sign war going on," Miller said. "In this case it's a one-sided sign war, because we're not getting involved."
The Brampton Centre Liberals filed complaints about Tuesday's vandalism with Peel Regional Police and Elections Canada, providing both with a copy of the video.
Violation of Elections Act
Destruction of political signs would violate the federal Elections Act, with penalties ranging from a written warning to criminal charges.
A spokeswoman for the Commissioner of Canada Elections said she could not speak to the specifics of a particular case, but confirmed that the commissioner's office reviews every complaint.
That doesn't mean, however, that each complaint would lead to an investigation, Michelle Laliberte said. Only the most serious cases can be referred to the Public Prosecution Service, which would decide whether to lay charges.
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