Barrie residents may not know him by name, but they've certainly seen a lot of him in the news. Literally.
Most notably known for wearing colourful thongs at protests against public-health measures during lockdown, Weldon Hachey has entered the race to become the city's next mayor, bringing the field to seven candidates.
Hachey says a BBC documentary from years ago called How Big Oil Conquered the World helped with his decision.
“Through that I have seen the manipulation from the globalist elites and their influence and infiltration into our government and every area that they can to expand their empires off the sweat of our people,” Hachey told BarrieToday.
Hachey says watching how the pandemic unfolded and what he believed to be a government he couldn’t trust only enforced his desire to enter the municipal race.
“Every suspicion I have had is coming to light from the real science and experts from around the world,” he said.
Hachey, 52, has lived in Barrie for four years and has never ran for public office, but says he was vice-president of the Pine Beach Land Owners Association and believes he has “already become well known and popular.”
Hachey became a well-known figure as the thong-wearing man who participated in provincial protests against lockdown measures over the last two years. He says he began wearing a thong with an upside-down Canadian flag in early 2020 when, as he says, Premier Doug Ford "banned the sale of clothing and stated they were non-essential.”
The provincial government put a halt to indoor shopping at many stores, but curbside pick-up and online options were allowed.
Hachey says of wearing the thong at protest: “It was political satire which went viral and I have been contacted by Canadians from all over asking me to not stop.
The 2022 Barrie municipal election is on Oct. 24.
Hachey's opponents for the mayor's seat currently include Andrew Gordon, Rob Haverson, Gerry Marshall, Mike McCann, Alex Nuttall, and Barry Ward. Incumbent Jeff Lehman has said he will not seek re-election after three terms as mayor.
Nominations close Friday, Aug. 19 at 2 p.m. for the city election, which will elect the next mayor, 10 city councillors and school board trustees.