For independent candidate John Pacheco, putting together signs was a family affair. He ran as a pro-family candidate in Ottawa West Nepean, Ont. His sign assembly crew was made up of himself, his wife Lara and the couple’s three children.
“What you see with my assembly crew is what you see on my signs,” said Pacheco. In a riding where the Conservative candidate, former MPP John Baird, supported same-sex “marriage,” Pacheco was the only pro-family candidate. Thus the message on Pacheco’s election signs was clear: “Support Traditional Marriage – Elect John Pacheco Your Independent Candidate.”
This message was too much for some. During the early hours of Jan. 14, some individual or group of individuals systematically targeted and vandalized Pacheco’s signs. Some were torn and destroyed, others were spray-painted with the word “Traditional” crossed out and messages such as, “You R Gay.”
“Our children were particularly devastated,” said Pacheco. “But my campaign team is taking it in stride. I knew some vandalism would happen; however, I’m very surprised at how organized this effort seems. We had signs all over the riding. These vandals had to cover a large area in a very short period of time.”
“Spray-painted signs, harassing phone calls, that’s pretty much par for the course when your husband is the only pro-family candidate in the race,” said Lara Pacheco. “In fact, I got condemned to hell yesterday by some anonymous phone caller. Nevertheless, the majority of calls have been positive. People are happy to have someone running who will stand up for families. Even a life-time Liberal voter called to express her support. She was outraged by the vandalism of our signs and said she could no longer stomach the three traditional parties and that she would be voting for my husband.”
Pacheco filed a complaint with the local police, but as of election day, the vandals had not been caught.