With the Quebec election round the corner campaign posters have become a common sight across the province. Faces of smiling candidates staring lovingly at hopeful voters, but not everyone is happy, and some billboards have become prime targets for vandals.
The problem has gotten so bad that Luc Fortin, a Quebec liberal party Candidate has filled a formal complaint with police. He alleges that 32 of his posters have been defaced destroyed in Downtown Sherbrooke.
Fortin to to facebook to post a picture of the vandalised process and make a statement about the impact of such vandalism. In it he writes:
Such acts do not advance the democratic debate. Differences of opinion are at the very basis of policy. However, vandalism only sends the following message: it is easier to attack an image than to discuss ideas. How can we motivate political involvement when we directly attack people’s image and insult them? This affects all political parties and I am sure they will support me by saying that there are other ways to assert his opinion. Not to mention that all these vandalized signs cannot be recycled, because in 2018 individuals have nothing better to do than to deteriorate electoral posters.
Campaign posters a regularly vandalised around election season especially in downtown or student heavy areas. While some see it as harmless fun others accuse vandals of subverting the democratic process.
There is something to say in regards to who owns public spaces and the right of political parties to attach posters to street lights and other places. For instance in my neighborhood I am greeted by a the giant glaring face of Manon Masse every day on the way across the street for my morning coffee. Would I be allowed to but a giant picture of my face on the lamp post? If not we surely should be allowed to make a few edits.
Alas, graffiti and vandalism has been around forever, Rome was plagued by it, and in 2018 Montreal it doesn’t seem like it’s going away any time soon.
But in the words of the great Banksy “If Graffiti Changed anything, it would be illegal”