VANCOUVER – With one week to go before the federal election, both the Liberal and Conservative parties say their campaign signs are going missing in the Vancouver South riding.
Conservative candidate Wai Young’s campaign claims more than 30 per cent of their lawn signs have been stolen in the riding. In an emailed news release, Young called the alleged thefts “hurtful and dangerous.”
“I worry about our democracy,” Young said, while a lawyer for the Young campaign, implied the Liberal campaign or its supporters were responsible, without providing proof.
Young’s campaign has not responded to requests for comment from CTV News to further explain that claim or back it up with evidence.
The riding’s Liberal candidate, Harjit Sajjan, who beat Young in the riding in 2015, strongly denied that any of his supporters are responsible for vandalism or theft of other candidates’ signs.
“I find it very disappointing that Wai Young’s campaign is making baseless accusations on us,” said Sajjan outside his campaign office Monday.
“Especially since some of our signs have been stolen.”
Both campaigns provided CTV News Vancouver with security camera footage they say shows people stealing their signs.
In what appears to be home surveillance video provided by Young’s campaign, a car can be seen pulling up outside a house after dark. The passenger exits the vehicle and removes a small sign from the lawn in front of the home.
The video is timestamped Oct. 9 at 11:55 p.m., but it’s difficult to see the name on the sign. Nothing in the video, which appears to have been edited to remove the moment the person pulls out the sign, indicates who the alleged perpetrator might be or his or her motive.
The video provided by the Sajjan campaign is also recorded after dark and shows someone approach a large sign on foot, struggling for a moment to remove it from its base, before carrying it down the street over their head.
In their news release, Young’s campaign says it has reported sign thefts to Elections Canada.
The Sajjan campaign says it is documenting each incident and plans to formally complain to Elections Canada at a later date, but stopped short of blaming any specific campaign or individuals.
ENCORE: Fancy having the Nickelback band and signers Barney Bentall, Jim Cuddy, Shawn Hook and Stephen Kellogg perform at your Gleneagles waterfront home. That happened when the Obakki clothing line owner, Treana Peake, staged the second annual White Envelope fundraiser at her, spouse Ryan and neighbour Judith Stewart’s estate-style properties. Ryan is a Nickelback band member. The event reportedly raised $400,000 to help sustain the Obakki Foundation’s educational, clean-water and other sustainable projects in South Sudan and nearby nations. Treana welcomed former South Sudanese child soldier Emmanuel Jal who is now a Toronto-based singer, screen actor (The Good Lie), political activist and leadership lecturer. His maxim: “Turn your eyes inside yourself and, as you change, saturate yourself with information that can enhance your new skills.”
REVVED UP: The recent 10th annual Luxury & Supercar Weekend brought more exotic vehicles than ever to VanDusen Botanical Garden. As usual, a previous-evening reception filled Niels and Nancy Bendtsen’s Inform Interiors store.
Cars inside included the show’s darling, a battery-powered 1,900-horsepower Pininfarina Battista costing around $3.5 million. That would get you a tasty West Vancouver home or, to those fully exploiting the Battista’s mojo, perhaps a visit to crowbar hotel. On the Inform store’s Water Street sidewalk, a 720-horsepower McLaren 720S Coupe was tagged at $401,910. The sky-blue coupe complemented L&S Weekend co-principal Nadia Iadisernia’s Ferrari-red Diane von Furstenberg dress and Ferragamo heels that together cost less than the $1,460 needed for the McLaren’s optional coloured brake calipers.
FANCY DANNY: Parked beside swanky-panky dreamboats on the VanDusen lawn, an Ontario-built Pontiac Acadian cost maybe $3,000 in 1964. Today, having gained a 10.3-litre, twin-turbo engine developing 2,510 horsepower, it could be worth $1 million. That said, not much, if anything, remains of the ho-hum two-door sedan that Victoria-based Danny Jadresko bought in 1983. He and bride Sandy later honeymooned in it. With son Cody, and aided by Quebec-based custom-car builder J.F. Launier, the Jadreskos spent 18 years developing the Acadian into a “street outlaw” that can blow the doors of most European exotics. Meanwhile, their W&J Construction and Woodsmere Holdings firms opened the doors to thousands of single- and multi-unit homes they’d built, including 600 units in Langford that rent for $800 to $1,200 monthly.
HOMEWORK: For the principal of Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Secondary, David Starr, it entails writing books. His refugee-themed debut work, From Bombs to Books, and its seven successors were aimed at young readers. The latest, Like Joyful Tears, “is my first big-boy book,” Starr said. It has a Canadian woman help a South Sudanese massacre survivor relocate to Canada. Starr’s novel was aided by his own dealings with refugees, and polished by editor-wife Sharon, who is vice-principal at Port Moody Secondary. Partial royalties from it benefit the Obakki Foundation.
BREATH AND LIFE: At the Vancouver Playhouse recently, Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji screened, 65_RedRoses, their 2009 film about since-deceased cystic fibrosis patient Eva Markvoort. The fundraising event promoted CF awareness and organ donation. Although the lauded movie wasn’t an Oscar contender, attendees Alison Snowden and David Fine won one for their animated short, Bob’s Birthday, and earned three other Oscar nominations. Like Markvoort, Snowden received donated lungs, but survived. After a virus destroyed her own, Snowden was put into an induced coma for a month and deemed to be too weak for transplant surgery. Business and personal partner Fine said “a breakthrough idea” entailed awakening her and rebuilding strength during non-stop treatment by ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) heart-lung-bypass technology. It worked. Donated lungs arrived, Dr. John Yee undertook the surgery, and Fine and the recovering Snowden completed another Oscar-nominated short, Animal Behaviour. Snowden’s proposed acceptance speech at the February, 2019 Academy Awards ceremony would have praised VGH, her surgical team and Canadian medicine generally. However, the award went to Toronto director-writer Domee Shi’s Bao.
BRAVO: The effectiveness of the 16-year-old VSO School of Music was clear when four students performed at Ronald McDonald House recently. Sequoia String Quartet violinists Catherine Teng, 16, and Kai Chow, 15, violist Davin Mar, 14, and cellist David Han, 13, played works by Handel, Mozart, Vivaldi and others, with intelligence, clarity and youthful confidence.
FOOTBALL FAME: B.C. Lions fans still sang “Roar, you Lions, roar” in 2003 when Pasquale “Wally” Buono left the Calgary Stampeders to be the local team’s head coach. Roar they did, through five West Division championships, two Grey Cup wins and one loss (2004 to the Toronto Argonauts). After retiring in 2018, Potenza-born Buono will be inducted into the Italian Cultural Centre’s Hall of Fame Oct. 4 and possibly called “the pride of all B.C.”
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: As we consider electing more parliamentarians with no more authority than pets on a leash, a Scottish high court judge has ruled that parliament’s role in scrutinizing the government is a central pillar of the UK’s constitution, which follows naturally from the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
Packed bag lunches might sometimes fail to inspire, but at least the high school principal won’t complain about them.
The same can’t be said for the food delivery apps that are growing in popularity at some South Surrey high schools.
In recent weeks, the administration at Semiahmoo and Elgin Park secondary schools have had to impose restrictions on apps like Skip the Dishes, as deliveries from local restaurants became more disruptive.
“The day we started noticing it, I think we had five deliveries within about an hour — and it was all outside of lunch,” said Semiahmoo principal James Johnston. “So we started really watching for it more and more.”
Johnston said students were asking their teachers if they could leave class to use the washroom or get something out of their lockers, but in fact they were picking up food delivery.
“Some of our teachers would notice it was taking maybe 10 minutes for them to come back, and some of the students would even come back with their food,” he said.
That’s when it became a problem.
Dozens of students getting daily lunch deliveries
At Semiahmoo Secondary, there’s a large group of students who take part in daily lunch deliveries organized on Chinese language app WeChat.
But Johnston said that hasn’t been a disruption — the deliveries are well-organized and students, often in the dozens, meet the driver just off school grounds during the lunch break.
At nearby Elgin Park Secondary school, the same service only recently came to principal Jeff Johnstone’s attention. He noticed a huge group of students in the parking lot, and rushed out, assuming students were involved in a fight.
But when he got close, Johnstone realized a delivery driver was distributing dozens of lunches and taking payment.
According to Elgin’s principal, between 50 and 80 students get lunch delivered each day. He spoke with the delivery service and they agreed to do their business just off school grounds.
Johnstone complains about the garbage and food waste he notices with the delivery, but he said it’s not a huge concern. He said fewer problems have arisen with apps like Skip the Dishes, but he worries his students aren’t adequately tipping drivers.
Ban draws variety of views from students
Back at Semiahmoo Secondary, students have mixed reactions to a recent ban on Skip the Dishes deliveries.
“A couple weeks ago they put an announcement and it was super serious,” said Ben Rodericks, a Grade 12 student. “And it ends up that the guy on the speaker goes, ‘No more ordering Skip the Dishes. This is a huge problem at our school right now.”
Rodericks said the students used to order the food to one of the side doors and try to sneak it in, but school officials “caught on really fast to that.”
Ratik Kaushal, a friend of Rodericks, said all the students are trying to do is eat.
“I just think it’s outrageous that they’re trying to regulate such things,” Kaushal said.
Grade 11 student Pill Kiang admitted the disruption had gotten bad before the ban.
“The problem with Skip the Dishes is they don’t get the location that specific,” Kiang said. “It’s hard to communicate with no phone calls.”
Kiang regularly takes part in the organized group order through WeChat, but hasn’t relied on Skip the Dishes. He said he noticed dozens of orders arriving at the school each week.
CBC News requested an interview with Skip the Dishes, but the company declined, replying with a brief emailed statement instead.
“We aren’t aware of any specific issues with deliveries to high schools,” the statement read. “However, we believe that schools and principals can be empowered to set the rules related to food deliveries as they deem appropriate.”