A campaign sign for Dollard-des-Ormeaux (DDO) mayoral candidate Alex Bottausci was vandalized with an anti-Semitic message on Thursday.
“No more Jews” was written right across his face on the poster at the corner of Anselme-Lavigne and Westpark.
“I felt anger. A sense of hopelessness and helplessness,” Bottausci told Global News. “The anger set in, then I started making some phone calls.”
He got in touch with Corey Fleischer, a power-washing professional who cleans hateful graffiti all over the Montreal area. Fleischer got rid of it within hours, but Bottausci is still trying to understand why someone would do that.
“I’m actually Italian by origins. It has nothing to do with that. Whether you’re Jewish, Italian, Greek, Muslim, it doesn’t matter what you are. I felt it was an attack on all in Dollard,” he said.
A pair of Jewish city councillors seeking re-election in DDO, Morris Vesely and Herbert Brownstein, say their election signs were cut down and thrown on the ground near the intersection of Roger-Pilon and Westpark.
“Two incidents now were in front of the Beth Tikvah synagogue, our posters were cut down. We put them right back up. I’m hoping it’s just some kids passing by,” said Vesely.
Brownstein worries Jewish candidates are being targetted.
“We’re very present in a concentrated area, and this may be unpleasant for certain individuals who feel threatened by our presence,” he told Global News.
DDO mayoral candidate Raman Chopra called the graffiti a hateful crime that should be taken very seriously. He said his wife had a sign vandalized when she was running for the federal Conservatives a few years ago.
“Someone put a Nazi sign on her forehead when she ran as a Conservative candidate,” he said, calling for steep penalties for those who do hate graffiti.
A DDO resident living right next to the Bottausci’s vandalized sign expressed outrage.
“I’m standing on a corner where I have a Lutheran church on one side, a Roman Catholic church on the other side, a synagogue down the street, a mosque further down the street. This is a diverse area. We all live together,” said Linda Rodrigues.
Mayor Ed Janiszewski was not available for an interview but told Global News he thought some kids had probably done it and that he wanted to move on.
Montreal police are investigating, but have no leads and no suspects.