Sign burned and campaigns attacked: Local election race takes ugly turn


The municipal election campaign in London has taken yet another ugly turn, on multiple fronts.

Ward 12 incumbent Elizabeth Peloza said an election sign she had at the corner of Wellington and Southdale roads was set on fire and destroyed beyond use.

She was so angry she took to Twitter, even using profanity to express how upset she was. “__ like this doesn’t encourage women to run for office or feel safe in the community,” she said in a tweet.

4 election signs at an #ldnont intersection and only 1 had fire set to it. 3 had photos, 2 were purple but only 1 was for a female candidate.

Shit like this doesn't encourage women to run for office or to feel safe in their community. pic.twitter.com/G5OcJvwmms

— Elizabeth Peloza (@ElizabethPeloza) September 21, 2022

Speaking Friday with CTV News, Peloza said she hopes such incidents don’t deter would-be female candidates.

“I did use profanity, and yes, this crap needs to stop,” she said. “It doesn’t help with community conversations. It doesn’t help women feel they have a place in politics, or women in those communities feel safe.”

Since going public with what happened, support for Peloza has been pouring in.

Council candidate Corrine Rahman pointed out there are more positives than negatives on the campaign trail, adding that this type of behaviour needs to be called out.

“As women, we have to support each other, we have to make sure that we’re building each other up,” she said. “And we have to make sure that when things like this happen we stand up and we say we won’t allow this in our community.”

Former city councillor Harold Usher, who is helping on the Peloza campaign, said he had many signs defaced and destroyed over the years, but never set ablaze.

“I think that these young women they work very hard to try to represent us and we should give them an opportunity to try to do so,” said Usher. “We just don’t have enough females in council.”

Meantime, Peloza is not the only candidate feeling like they’re under attack.

Mayoral candidate Josh Morgan said flyers were handed out at Budweiser Gardens Thursday night, saying “a vote for Josh Morgan is a vote for a divisive and dysfunctional council.”

Tonight these illegal attack flyers were being handed out at @BudGardens

If you want to debate me on issues/record/platform: bring it on! …but don’t hand out a flyer riddled with lies illegally on City property.
Our democracy deserves more respect than this.#ldnont #ldnvotes pic.twitter.com/x988eUjLMn

— Josh Morgan (@JoshMorganLDN) September 23, 2022

“If you’re registered as a third party you have to identify who you are on the ad,” said Morgan. “You also can’t hand out information on city property. Allegedly that’s what was happening at Budweiser Gardens, and it’s really about people participating and engaging in the election in a fair and transparent way.”

The email address on the bottom of the flyer, abetterlondon@execulink.com, belongs to third-party advertiser Anna Maria Vallastro.

Vallastro told CTV News by phone she handed the flyers out on the sidewalk outside Budweiser Gardens, and she believes her email address adequately identifies her as the third party, as per election rules.