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Ryan Leef, the incumbent Conservative Party MP for the Yukon, performed a citizen's arrest on a Yukoner who was vandalizing his re-election signs. You can read the first-person details here and the CBC North coverage here.
Now we all know the Conservatives are tough law-and-order types. Or at least that is how they like to imagine themselves. Just as long as no one mention the Senate, the 2011 election expenses, the robocalls and so on.
But take down a few signs and not only will the full weight of the law descend upon you but so will Ryan Leef. Do not be fooled by his smallish stature. He is a tough cookie and can probably "arrest" most people reading this article. In a former career he was a Mixed Martial Arts contender. According to This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Leef has a gym in his Parliament Hill office.
I do not think I am going to embarrass him too much further by stating he is also a P90X fan. For those of you who do not know what P90X is, just watch an American cable channel late at night. The infomercial will surely appear. Basically, you do an hour of exercise a day for 90 days. The whole caper is lead by a charismatic musclehead named Tony. Full of witty sayings to encourage you to keep following the program, he inspires vapid devotion from his followers. Any intellectual similarity to the current Conservative Party leader is, I am sure, purely coincidental.
In the spirit of full disclosure I will admit to also being a huge fan of P90X. On the odd occasion I have met Leef it is basically the only thing we talk about as our views on everything else are not in harmony.
While defacing election signs is a serious offence, it should be perhaps considered in a Yukon context. There is a long and proud tradition of cutting down highway advertising billboards. A group that might (or might not) still be in existence usually claimed responsibility by spray painting YLF on the sign once it was down. This is the not really feared and not that infamous Yukon Liberation Front.
Dedicated to preserving the Yukon way of life (if you have to ask what that is, you obviously are not a member of the YLF) it takes great exception to the commercial billboards along the stretch of Alaska Highway that runs through Whitehorse. Since many Yukoners own chainsaws to cut wood for their woodstoves it is but a simple matter to go and cut the signs down.
The signboard companies got wise, and started using metal poles instead of wooden ones. This caused for more creative methods to be used to express the displeasure at these commercial intrusions into the Yukon viewscape.
For example, a certain fast food establishment had a sign that stated "KFC -- The joy of not cooking." Some intellectual member of the YLF simply spray painted an "s" in front of the "not." After a day or two of laughter the company had to take the sign down themselves.
Now we all know it is an offence to deface or vandalize a candidate's sign during an election. But what does it say about a candidate who goes around dressed like a ninja and performs a citizen's arrest on those who vandalize his signs? And then handcuffs them? Who carries handcuffs with them when they go out? I mean, I carry a bit of string so if I score something good from a dumpster I can tie it to my bike, but handcuffs?
This is going to raise some interesting questions when any of the candidates come knocking on those Yukon doors. Voters are going to want to know what the other candidates would do if they saw someone vandalizing their signs. Questions might also be raised about what sort of restraints each candidate is carrying. And, of course, they will be scrutinized to see if they are wearing all black or camouflage outfits. Given the recent dusting of snow that has hit most of the Yukon they might want to consider something that better blends in with the coming winter.
This vigilantism is going to be a tough subject for Ryan Leef to deal with. Most Yukoners will want to know what this incident says about his judgement. If he takes the law into his own hands on this issue, what is going to happen if he sees someone he thinks is breaking Bill C-51? As Tony of P90X fame would say, someone has been "Stirrin' up some trouble."
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Image: Facebook/Ryan Leef
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