North Vancouver-Seymour NDP MLA Susie Chant’s office has been defaced with a swastika and message comparing mask mandates and the NDP to Nazism.
Staff arrived at the Lynn Valley office Thursday morning to find the noxious symbol.
“Which is really unkind. I do wish people would come and talk to me instead of, you know, scribbling,” said Chant, who was in Victoria at the time. “Maybe I can encourage people to actually come and speak to me. That would be a more effective way of me understanding what their messaging is, and see if there's something I can do to offer them support.”
The use of the swastika is an anti-Semitic gesture, regardless of who it is targeting, said Marvin Rotrand, national director, League for Human Rights at B’Nai Brith Canada.
“The public should realize swastikas are deeply hurtful to the Jewish community. It raises the spectre of the Holocaust and it’s the wrong symbol for people to use for other issues where they want to make a statement,” he said. “We really put out the strong message: please, don’t do this.”
More than defacing the office of a public official, Chant added it was upsetting for the screed to be seen where so many families frequent.
“We really don't have room, time, or energy for hatred. We just don't,” she said.
Chant rubbished the comparison of public health measures to Nazi genocide.
“We're doing the best we can to keep people safe,” she said. “That kind of message given is not appropriate.”
Chant’s constituency assistant, Eli Mallin, scrubbed the paint off the window. In a moment of cheek and defiance, Mallin, who is Jewish, posted on social media that he had chosen the perfect day to wear his Hanukkah sweater, and included a picture of the cheery sweater emblazoned with symbols of the Jewish holiday.
Thank you everyone. One of our CAs is Jewish (shared tweet) and was able to clean the offensive wording off. Acts like this do not define our community but can hopefully serve as a reminder that we need to come together to combat hate and misinformationhttps://t.co/w21qASBBc3— Susie Chant (@SusieChant_nvs) November 25, 2021
North Vancouver RCMP are investigating the mischief. They believe the graffiti was left between 11 p.m. on Nov. 24, and 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 25. Anyone who saw what happened or may have surveillance footage is asked to contact police at 604-985-1311.
Chant is not alone in being targeted by anti-maskers.
North Vancouver-Lonsdale NDP MLA Bowinn Ma said her office has been targeted with anti-mask/anti-vax vandalism 15 times in the last two and a half months. That has included being egged, dumping used masks, paint on the windows, and posting literature, some of which has been racist, she said.
Eventually, the RCMP identified the person responsible for at least 14 of the incidents, but Ma said she did not want to see them pursue charges.
Instead, she spoke with him directly about his behaviour.
Ma said she expects her office to draw a certain amount of protest, but a line must be drawn when staff or other community members feel threatened.