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The switch in the lantern is a press fit switch so you will destroy it when you remove it. Remove the lense and retainer ring. Remove the battery. With a pair of pliers, preferably channel lock water pump pliers crush the switch into small piece and discard. Trail Tech makes the exact water resistant switch model 040-ls-b and you can get it at Amazon or on eBay . The switch runs around $6.25 + $4.00 shipping
Canon AE-1 will not work without a battery,so if your battery is low then most likely that is your problem.Battery compartment is located on the front of the camera.Replace the battery with a brand new one,used batteries even though they will read the right voltage(6 volts)will not have enough amperage to allow proper cycling of all moving parts.Buy a good quality battery like eveready,duracell,etc.hope this helps.
Here in the UK I have never had much luck with flashlights (or torches as we call them!) stored in the car-exactly the same problem as you -the battery is always flat when you come to use it. I have even tried slackening the base off to break the contacts-makes no difference. Best to get a rechargeable one like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-pcs-15-LED-RECHARGEABLE-WORK-LIGHT-FLASHLIGHT-TOOLS-/330510652438?hash=item4cf3f85416:m:m9OEtxPyWSFj8nAyzf1i4Mw
Only downside is you can't leave this model on charge so if you can try to find one with a regulated power supply which can be left permanently on charge without damaging the batteries. Avoid the million candlepower ones too-yes they are very bright but only last 15 minutes on a charge!