A high school teacher may find himself in trouble after posting a video clip cutting election banners on his school grounds in Montreal.
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“I’m sorry, but this is the school grounds. He has no business there,” Xavier Watso erred in a video posted this week on TikTok where we see him with scissors.
In this sequence of about 15 seconds, a teacher at Louis-Riel High School, located in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, cuts two electoral marks for the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) and the Parti Québécois (PQ).
The drama teacher’s video quickly went viral with 600,000 views, as well as sparking outrage on social media.
“If I had known that what I was doing was illegal, I would not have filmed myself doing it. I thought it was not legal to put posters on the school grounds,” he defends himself in an interview with register Xavier Watson.
The teacher adds that he had never seen a sign on the school grounds in nearly six years of work. He assures us that it was in good faith. Note that the labels were returned to the PCQ and PQ candidates. They were eventually returned because they were legal on the school grounds.
“It was reckless of me, and I learned a lot after that about election banners,” he says. Mr. Watsuo also learned that a complaint could have been lodged with the police against him for this mistake.
When contacted on this topic, Elections Quebec declined to comment on the special case of the professor at Louis-Riel High School.
However, I would like to remind you that theft or vandalism of posters are crimes governed by the Criminal Code. These situations should therefore be reported to the police,” explains its spokesperson, Jonathan Goderault.
The teacher’s employer, the scolaire de Montreal service center, assures us that he “does not endorse any initiative that conflicts with the democratic values of our society”.
“We also apply an election law that specifically allows posting on the property of school service centers, with the exception of their buildings, and calls on all residents to respect this law,” she adds.
Note that PCQ declined to comment on their poster cut and that our request for an interview with a PQ candidate remained unanswered on Friday.