Local candidate speaks out after election signs vandalized with hateful graffiti

Local candidate speaks out after election signs vandalized with hateful graffiti

Federal election candidate Doug Kobayashi says he’s “mad as hell.”

Kobayashi, who is Japanese-Canadian and is the Liberal candidate running in the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding, recently had his elections vandalized with swastika symbols this week.

“I’ve had lots of racist comments made to me in the past, but I’ve learned to deflect it all. You just learn to live with it. And it certainly wasn’t as bad as it was 30-40 years ago when I was growing up. Things have improved immensely, but this one symbol is one symbol that is hate,” he said.

The hateful symbol was drawn multiple times on two signs, one in Sooke and another in Colwood.

Kobayashi, who was born in Canada and is a Colwood city councillor, said he’s never had to deal with an act of racism like this before.

“I was really affected by it actually. Out of any symbol, that’s the one symbol that I’m affected by,” he said.

Kobayashi isn’t the only person of colour in the community who’s dealt with racism.

A recent report by the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) shows that 71 per cent of people who identify as BIPOC reported having experienced some form of racism within the last 5 years either daily, weekly or monthly and 70 per cent felt undervalued, isolated and unsafe because of their race or ethnicity.

Kobayashi said the vandalism doesn’t scare him and it doesn’t change his opinion of the community.

“I’m absolutely not fearful. This is Canada. And this is why I’m running in this race right now ’cause I believe in Canada. I’m proud to be a Canadian,” he said.

He does, however, have one thing to say to the culprits.

“Message is very simple. If you have something to say, give me a call. I’ll talk to you. I’ll gladly have the dialogue. And if there’s something that’s bothering you, I would want to talk to you about it. Let’s speak. Let’s have dialogue. Let’s not do this type of thing,” he said.

The signs have since been replaced and the campaign team has informed RCMP about the incidents.

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Tahmina AzizTahmina Aziz

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