“Sign Damaged to the Max” in Election Sign War in Mississauga
Published October 2, 2018 at 7:54 pm
Fireworks continue to explode over what should have been a calm Mississauga city council race in Ward 10, as incumbent Sue McFadden fends off challengers Mazin Al-Ezzi and realtor Savita Sangwan.
McFadden won reelection in 2014 with 77 per cent of the vote, and her race is looking like another easy win. Not much attention was paid to it until Al-Ezzi, a self described investment professional, went viral over this tirade he had with a resident over whether said resident allegedly stepped on his election signs.
Al-Ezzi subsequently apologized for his outburst.
You can see the apology here:
But apologies aside, it seems the saga of the battle over election signs continues between McFadden and Al-Ezzi with each candidate accusing the other of vandalizing each other’s election signs, or putting them up without the property owner’s permission.
Al-Ezzi outlined his allegations against McFadden in an email to insauga.com.
In the email, Al-Ezzi said that his opponent was behind “having people severely vandalize [his] signs.” He said that his signs were being “destroyed beyond belief” and that police were aware of the situation.
Insauga.com subsequently reached out to Al-Ezzi to to ask for more information regarding his allegations. He has not responded as of this writing.
But McFadden disputed his allegations, saying that the reason that his signs are coming down is that he put them up illegally and Ward 10 residents are calling 311 and Mississauga’s city clerk’s office to get them removed.
“This isn’t my first rodeo; I’ve been campaigning for a long time and I know my residents. I don’t need to go around taking down signs of someone else,” McFadden said in a phone call to insauga, adding that although she’s got residents committed to voting for her, they asked her to take down her sign because it was causing too much controversy.
“I don’t like how he (Al-Ezzi) is making a mockery of the democratic process. Several people have called me to complain about it. If his signs are being destroyed, it is being done by residents whose private property he placed signs on without permission” she continued, adding that many of his signs were seen folded up, or placed with the daily garbage pickup.
Several emails which McFadden responded to from residents and copied to insauga include the following (names have been changed to protect residents’ privacy):
“Hi Sue. I woke up this morning with two election signs on my lawn that appeared overnight. Neither Garth nor I consented to the placement of those signs. Another question: aren’t’ election signs required to be in English or French? I do not like these tactics which border on unfairness.”
(Some of Al-Ezzi’s signs were in other languages such as Chinese or Arabic, although according to city guidelines there is no language restriction on election signs)
“Signs from (Al-Ezzi) were placed on private property without permission. I had FOUR placed on my property without so much as a knock on the door. One neighbourhood was INUNDATED with signs from this gentlemen last night.”
This following email to McFadden indicates her signs being torn down:
“All your signs on Grossbeak are gone and the sign stapled on the fence at the corner at Osprey has been torn off and lying on the boulevard. 90 per cent of all your sign locations now have Al-Ezzi signs on the lawn beside yours and in some cases your sign (s) is / are gone. Some of (his) signs have been ripped out presumably by residents, and just thrown on the ground.”
But Al-Ezzi’s problem may not only be alleged vandalism of an opponent’s signs, but knowing where to place his own signs in the first place.
Meadowvale residents have been reporting that a bunch of his signs are popping up along Edenwood Drive, specifically at corner locations with side streets.
What’s the problem with this? Edenwood is not even in Ward 10; it’s several blocks away from the actual boundary between Wards 9 and 10, which is Tenth Line. Ward 10’s official boundaries are Tenth Line / Winston Churchill on the east and Highway 407 to the west.
Here’s more large Al-Ezzi signs at a private residence on Edenwood and Aquitaine.
There were several other small signs dotting a few more corner houses along Edenwood.
If these are personal friends of his then it may be somewhat understandable that Al-Ezzi’s signs occupy these properties, yet it makes little practical sense as these friends cannot even vote for him. It also adds to confusion for Ward 9 residents who think that Coun. Pat Saito is running against this man, yet his name will not be on their ballots when they go vote.
At the end of the day, signs don’t vote; people do. Even though her supporters are taking down McFadden’s signs to avoid any more trouble, they are still voting for her. Likewise, there are Al-Ezzi supporters that probably avoid putting up signs for the very same reason.
Sign issues aside, the challenger’s main problem may be his grasp of Ward 10 issues, which seem rather rudimentary from his platform. He mentions bolstering the Meadowvale Theatre (which is in Ward 9, not 10) and getting the LRT project moving along (which is in neither Wards 9 or 10, although it is a wider Mississauga issue).
This little “sign war” may just be a distraction over the matter of someone campaigning on a rather flimsy platform with little specific details for Ward 10 against an incumbent who, at the very least, has done her due diligence in keeping up to date on issues in her constituency.
In the meantime, however, Al-Ezzi continues to campaign on the importance of feeling “safe, secure and respected.”
Municipal elections take place on October 22. Advance polls are open starting October 5.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising