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This 'old hippy' makes his own election signs 'in defiance of them'

Meet the London, Ont. man whose homemade election signs are trying to convince people who don't vote to cast their ballots against Canada's party system on election day.

Rob McQueen says he wants people who don't normally vote to make a statement on election day

Meet the 'old hippy' who makes his own election signs 'in defiance' of party politics 1:39

Self-described grassroots political activist Rob McQueen says he's the product of a different time. 

"I'm an old hippy that hasn't forgotten the revolution," he says. "I not only believe it, I live it." 

He lives it by foraging or growing his own food to minimize his carbon footprint. He also tries to get perfect strangers more engaged in politics by making his own political signs, sporting slogans such as "issues not mud slinging," "give us democracy or stuff yourselves," and "climate change change direction." 

"We've got to change our direction," he said. "The politicians aren't doing it." 

Now 67, McQueen's first brush with politics came when he was only nine. His parents took him to a political rally where Canadian political legend Tommy Douglas was speaking. 

'They don't reflect us' 

Rob McQueen holds two of his homemade election signs at Wonderland Road and Riverside Drive in London. He says he puts up the signs 'in defiance' of Canada's political party system. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

"I was just enthralled by listening to him," he said. "He came up to me later on and said 'when you get older, you should get involved in politics.' So he really put me on the path to politics." 

McQueen admits his views have evolved since then. Today he believes Canada's political party system is what's standing in the way from this country having true democracy. 

"I've found the party system is contrary to the peoples will," he said. "They go off to Ottawa or Toronto and then their leaders tells them how to vote." 

"They don't reflect us," he said. "This is why I'm putting my signs up. My signs are in defiance of them." 

It's not just the politicians he's flouting. There's a good chance some of McQueen's signs might be illegal under the complicated web of municipal, provincial and federal rules governing election signs. 

"Bring me in front of a judge, I don't care," he said. "Somebody's got to do something about it."

On election day, McQueen said he plans to spoil his ballot and he invites anyone who isn't planning on voting to do the same in order to make a statement. 

"I would like to see a massive rebellion," he said. "Anyone who doesn't vote, because they don't think they have a voice, go down and destroy your ballot or decline your ballot." 

"Go down and put your frustration on paper and do something about it." 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this article stated that Tommy Douglas was the leader of the Social Credit party when in fact he was the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and the New Democratic Party.
    Oct 17, 2019 9:57 AM ET

About the Author

Colin Butler

Video Journalist

Colin Butler is a veteran CBC reporter who's worked in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and London, Ont. Email: colin.butler@cbc.ca