The EPS police hate crime unit is looking into two controversial political signs posted on a lawn in southeast Edmonton.
One of the election signs, spotted on a lawn in the Meyonohk neighbourhood, shows a crosshair target on the foreheads of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Edmonton Mill Woods candidate Amarjeet Sohi.
The sign’s caption read: “Save our Country. Vote out these A$$wipes.”
A second sign on the lawn showed Trudeau walking across Parliament Hill in Ottawa with his pants edited to appear to be on fire, with a caption below reading, “What’s that Nursery Rhyme? Liar Liar…?”
Both signs appear to be homemade.
The homeowner — a man named Les, who did not want to appear on camera and who did not provide his last name — said he put up the signs out of frustration with the current federal government.
“I want Trudeau out,” he said. “Target your vote. Vote him out.
“It’s a target sign, that’s all it is. Target your vote… This country cannot afford another four years of this massive spending. Period,” Les said.
“The government, under this prime minister, is spending dollars like they can because he has been an elitist his entire life. He doesn’t know what money really means… Millions of Canadians are struggling but this government is just wasting our tax dollars.”
Sohi responded on Twitter, saying while the signs are disturbing — they are not reflective of the community he has called home for 35 years.
On Wednesday night, the lawn also contained an official sign from Conservative candidate Tim Uppal, who responded Thursday morning.
“Threats of political violence have no place in our democracy,” he tweeted.
“I’ve instructed my campaign to remove our sign from this property.”
Uppal was a federal minister under Stephen Harper, but was ousted when Sohi won the tightly contested riding by less than 100 votes in 2015.
The Uppal sign was gone from the lawn by noon, although it isn’t clear if the homeowner or campaign staff removed it.
“Do I support Tim Uppal? By targeting my vote, I’m going for the person most likely to win this riding against Sohi,” Les explained. “So yes, I will be voting that way. I’m targeting my vote to get them out.”
In the afternoon, the homeowner modified one of the signs to say, “target your vote.”
Nigel Logan, the NDP candidate in the riding, also reacted on Twitter.
“There is no acceptable reason for this kind of message in our political discourse,” he tweeted. “If you don’t want to vote for someone — fine. But threats are another thing altogether.”
Edmonton police said as of Thursday morning they had not received a formal complaint about the sign.
However, spokesperson Scott Pattison added the EPS Hate Crime and Violent Extremism Unit and INSET have been informed and are looking into it, and officers were seen at the home Thursday afternoon.