A man wearing a People’s Party of Canada (PPC) polo shirt with a megaphone strapped to his shoulder was seen walking up and down the sidewalk and speaking into his megaphone Monday outside the Cornerstone Baptist Church, which served as a polling station.
Former Orillia mayoral candidate Gord Launchbury was not impressed and approached the man because he believed the man was breaking the Elections Act, which states "no person shall use a loud speaking device within hearing distance of a polling station on polling day for the purpose of promoting or opposing a political party."
“I thought this is absurd, so, I went to the polling station to speak to the person working inside who said the man was using his megaphone, although they couldn’t hear what he was saying,” Launchbury explained.
“It was disturbing people, so, I called the police. They showed up and talked to me and I told them I thought it was against the law, and even if it isn’t it’s disturbing the people who are coming to vote," said Launchbury.
After speaking with the man, the officer returned to speak with Launchbury to tell him the PPC supporter wasn’t breaking any laws as long as he stayed off the property of the polling station.
“I went down the sidewalk and took a video of him," said Launchbury. "He was ranting that I was in the wrong and he was doing what he had to do. I basically told him that he’s not doing any good for the party.”
PPC candidate Stephen Makk told OrilliaMatters in a written statement that his party did not plan for that individual to be out causing a disruption at or around any polling stations.
“I won’t condemn it just because some people are upset. If it is actually illegal, then it obviously should not occur,” he said.
“I do know that it is against the Elections Act to use a loud-speaking device within hearing range of a polling station. If he got too close, that would be a violation."
Orillia OPP was not able to provide a comment in time for publication.