Hillier defiant after charges for anti-mask rally


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Eastern Ontario MPP Randy Hillier and his family remained defiant in the face of charges stemming from an anti-mask rally in Kemptville earlier this month.

The independent Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP retweeted a post by his son, Russell Hillier, confirming what media had already reported, that Hillier and his children were among those charged by Ontario Provincial Police in connection with the event at Kemptville’s South Branch Bistro.

“My dad @randyhillier, brothers and sister have all been charged by the OPP today,” Russell Hillier tweeted on Thursday night.

“Don’t tell me this isn’t political intimidation. This is Cuba/Communist China fear tactics to silence democratic opposition.”

The post goes on to address Premier Doug Ford, saying: “@fordnation call off your OPP attack dogs!”

The remarks come as the MPP faces pushback from his own riding for his stance against public-health rules.

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The elder Hillier has made it his social media practice to highlight charges against him for violating the province’s COVID-19 safety rules.

In an earlier tweet Thursday, the MPP posted an image of written charges against him pinned to a wall, and wrote: “I’m using these unjust charges as wallpaper. 8 summons 12 offences. Every charge, another brick @fordnation is using to build his wall of shame, as he arrests political opposition. I look forward to tearing down his wall in a court of law.”

Hillier had previously drawn condemnation for a social media post comparing COVID-19 measures to Nazi Germany.

The OPP reported Thursday that four individuals had been charged in connection with the event outside South Branch Bistro on Clothier Street East on April 8.

An estimated 200 people went to the so-called “mask burning party” led by Hillier and his No More Lockdowns Canada group, in violation of the province’s shutdown and stay-at-home orders meant to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario later suspended the bistro’s liquor licence.

OPP stated in a news release on Thursday that four individuals, including an organizer and the business, had been charged under the Reopening Ontario Act.

The incident remains under investigation and more charges could be laid, according to police.

“The OPP continues to support efforts to limit the transmission of COVID-19, including the government-mandated shutdown and the stay-at-home order. Actions are based on public health advice from the government’s health table as well as the chief medical officer of health,” the release said.

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Meanwhile, Kingston city council was considering a motion in calling for the premier to censure independent MPP Randy Hillier.

“Council will not silently stand by when members in our community are placed in harm’s way through Mr. Hillier’s wilful propagation of misinformation,” states the motion from Portsmouth District Coun. Bridget Doherty and Lakeside District Coun. Wayne Hill, which also asks Ford to have Hillier’s “unethical and harmful behaviour” investigated by the province’s integrity commissioner and to take further action or sanctions.

“He is trying to get his 15 minutes of fame by preying upon folks who are frustrated, anxious and ignorant of the issues,” Hill said. “He is doing this by disavowing the science that is supported by public health officials, doctors and other scientists, and in sowing this mistrust, his impact may very well last well beyond this pandemic.”

Last month, South Frontenac Township passed a motion that stated the municipal council does not support Hillier’s actions and that “this is not the way in which the Township of South Frontenac wishes to have this riding represented.”

Kingston city council is to consider the motion at its Tuesday night meeting.

(With files from Postmedia Network)

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