A candidate in Yellowknife’s municipal election has labelled vandals ‘cowards’ for defacing her signs.

Marie-Soleil Lacoursiere believes her promotional signs, scattered throughout the city among those of other candidates, have been targeted as she is a woman.

Councillor Rebecca Alty, who is standing for re-election, has also had a sign vandalized in recent days. Yellowknife Centre MLA Robert Hawkins, with Alty out of town, took it upon himself to remove the damage.

Moose FM understands a number of Lacoursiere’s signs have been attacked.

“What is there to say? This kind of vandalism has nothing to do with my policies and leadership ability and far too much to do with me being a woman,” said Lacoursiere in a statement on Tuesday.

“As I saw the image, I thought first of my four sons and baby girl at home. I take great pains to ensure they understand the importance of gender equality and this serves as a reminder that as a society we have a long way to go.”

Read: Moose FM Yellowknife election Q&A: Marie-Soleil Lacoursiere

Lacoursiere added she has “pretty thick skin” after holding management positions in the mining industry.

“However,” she continued, “I know at another time in my life, these kinds of images could have discouraged me from ever seeking office. The reality is there is likely a young woman somewhere in Yellowknife who had dreams of making positive change in government now abandoning those dreams for fear of humiliation in the public eye.

“If we choose inaction when faced with these issues, we risk our sons growing up believing it’s ok to belittle women with the guts to be leaders in society; that it’s a victimless crime. I refuse to take this course, and urge others to speak out in strength.

“If we don’t, we sacrifice the progress made in gender equality to cowards roaming the streets at night with a marker and some paint.”