Doug Kobayashi is mad as hell.
The Japanese-Canadian man, born and raised on the West Shore, is running to represent Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke in the federal election for the Liberal party. He’s a Colwood city councillor, retired lieutenant colonel from the Royal Canadian Air Force, lifetime community volunteer – and still, he’s dealing with petty racism.
On Friday Kobayashi received a message telling him someone had painted swastikas on a campaign sign in Sooke, and another in Colwood.
“I can’t describe my reaction,” he said. “I was horrified to tell you the truth. It was just outrage. I’ve been called a lot of things, but I have never been associated with a symbol like that in all my life.”
By Sunday morning he said he’d calmed down, but at the time he was steaming mad.
“There’s one symbol that is just hate,” he said. “The swastika. I unequivocally denounce that symbol. And I apologize to the people of the Jewish community for someone using my signs as a message of hate.”
Kobayashi is a third-generation Canadian. His father, a second-generation Canadian was forced to go to an internment camp in B.C. during the Second World War, though he didn’t even speak Japanese. Kobayashi’s mother is a survivor of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. They met when Kobayashi’s father was on shore leave in Japan with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Korean War, neither speaking the other’s language.
In Kobayashi’s family, he was taught to assimilate, and he learned to let racist comments bounce off him like Teflon.
“When people make comments that there’s no racism in Canada, or there’s no racism here, I just laugh,” he said, though he never thought he’d see this symbol in Victoria. “This is just so hurtful.”
His campaign team thinks the incident happened Thursday night in Sooke, when somebody tore down another campaign sign. The team informed the RCMP but was told that as there were no witnesses, police would not be conducting an investigation.
Anyone with information can contact the West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or report anonymously to Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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