LETTER: Election sign damage disappoints

The Editor,

When I read a while ago of people making charges that the vandalism of election signs was racially motivated against South Asians, I read it with hopes that the charge was without merit.

While I have not done a scientific study, I have been very cognizant of signage vandalism as I drive over all parts of Surrey.

I am sad to say that this charge seems to have merit.

It makes me sick to think fundamental rights of a democracy, the right to elect our representatives in a free and open manner, is being compromised by those who would take democracy into their hands and toss it into the gutter.

We all share in this, because, in the end, we get the government we deserve. If we get a government which is elected in spite of widespread signage vandalism, does that call into question the credibility of the election?

I think it does. It behooves all of us to think long and hard about what we truly value in our society. Canada has long been a land of opportunity, one in which people of all races have come seeking their fortune and the chance of a better life.

Endemic to this is the right to take part in and even run for election in an unfettered manner consistent with our principles of freedom and respect for all. This is no less true of elections than it is when it comes to the importance of having access to all our democratic institutions, such as parliament and our provincial legislature.

Safeguards must be in place so that these hallowed grounds can be both accessible as well as safe. We rely on security forces to make our parliament safe.

When it comes to election signage, we must rely on ourselves, to be beacons of respect and openness, in supporting the right of all to take part in the system with the knowledge they, too, regardless of racial or cultural heritage, shall have the same rights as all.

That is what Canada has stood for ever since we became an independent country in 1867. While we have no required civics course in our high schools, we have to act as responsible parents in educating our children of the importance of protection of our election process.

Election signs are a fundamental part of the process in a democracy. Please do your part to encourage respect for our elections, of which election signs are an integral part, and are hallmarks of any truly free society.

If not us, whom? If not now, when?

Steven Faraher-Amidon,

Surrey