A Nanaimo byelection candidate was slammed on social media this week after questioning spending on a Pride crosswalk.
Nanaimo city crews repainted rainbow crosswalks at Bastion and Commercial streets in time for Pride Week this month and added two more to the intersection for a cost of $4,200.
Al Thompson, byelection candidate, posted on social media that he’s signed up and running for the vacant council seat, “so let’s start off with the subject of wasted taxpayers’ money” he said, then asked why the city spent money on a Pride crosswalk.
“This is a special interest group, we must stop spending on special interests and spend for the whole,” he wrote. “There are a hundred or so pot hole (sic) in this city that need filling yet we spend time and money on crosswalk paint. Now not being bend (sic) that way am I allowed to use it?”
He also said he finds the painted walks a danger, that they look like artwork and have no place on roads.
People who reacted on social media defended the crosswalks including as a symbol of inclusiveness and acceptance of the LGTBQ community and some made it clear the comment harmed his candidacy.
Thompson believes he was misunderstood. He told the News Bulletin he wasn’t complaining about the “pride people,” merely the painting of the crosswalk.
“If they want to have their banner, don’t put it on the road, put it across the street. It’s not a slam against anybody’s beliefs or anything else. It is strictly that I don’t like the idea of painting crosswalks. Crosswalks are supposed to be white,” he said.
He said for him to pay taxes for any particular group to have their symbol on the road is not right and not fair.
He is not concerned the post and reaction to it will affect his campaign and has moved on to posting about other topics.