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Heckler stirs things up at Bay of Quinte candidates debate

Police [1]

The Belleville Police made an appearance at Wednesday night’s all-candidates debate as a man jeered at Conservative candidate Jodie Jenkins. Photo by Kate Shumakova.

By Kate Shumakova [2]

BELLEVILLE – A couple of Belleville Police [3] officers made a special guest appearance at the Bay of Quinte candidates debate Wednesday night, and some people did not like it.

The candidates received a mixture of cheers and  jeers from the public as they responded to questions. At one point during the night, Conservative candidate Jodie Jenkins was drowned out by a heckler making loud comments about Jenkins’s answers.

An Empire Theatre [4] security officer asked the man to stay quiet. Later, two police officers arrived and tried to force the man to leave. The debate was delayed for a few minutes. Several members of the audience expressed unhappiness with the officers’ appearance, shouting that ejecting the heckler was a violation of his freedom of speech.

Debate moderator Lorne Brooker [5], a host at CJBQ radio, said he felt the man should be allowed to say, and in the end the officers did so. No charges were laid.