The Nanaimo Council meeting on Monday, June 23rd saw the re-appearance of Sign Man going on attack. Why is this of concern? What are the patterns of behaviour? How does this effect the public at large?
Two speakers, who were both visual minorities, made a presentation for a boathouse on Nanaimo’s waterfront. Behind them sat the Sign Man who waved signs throughout their ten-minute speech to Council.
Afterwards, other delegations spoke in favour of the boathouse proposal. During that time, Sign Man was very specific about who he harassed. There were no signs held behind any of the Caucasian males who came up to the public podium but one female speaker was targeted.
Prior to this, Sign Man didn’t hold any of his signs behind the RCMP Superintendent or the Fire Chief during their respective reports to council. Nor did he hold any signs when delegations came to speak regarding a residential development in Chase River.
Twice, the Mayor commented with a laugh that he was ‘glad’ that the RCMP Superintendent was on hand to quieten the homeowners from Chase River, although there was no incident.
It was after the RCMP Superintendent left the meeting and the boathouse presentations began, that Sign Man went into action and began waving his signs behind the two speakers at the public podium. Not once did the Mayor or any council member ask Sign Man to end the harassment.
Is there a pattern to the attacks? The following is a guess as to how it is all planned out:
1. Sign Man is told where to sit and who to harass at Council meetings (and what messages to write on the signs).
2. Another member of the group is appointed to come to the podium to make comments to back up Sign Man’s points.
3. Harassment is further carried out on social media and the internet.
4) Finger pointing and accusations are reiterated in local mainstream media in the form of letters to the editor or as op-ed articles.
If there was a delegation who turned around and confronted Sign Man, what would occur?