In a turnabout from an earlier announcement that he would be running for Premier of Ontario under the newly established Ontario PPC Party, Independent MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston Randy Hillier now says he will not be running for re-election. “I’ve got an important message for you today, a message that will be greeted with sadness by some and that will be greeted with glee by others,” he said as he made the announcement via a Facebook post on the evening of Thursday, Mar. 3, 2022.
Hillier has been an MPP for 15 years, winning four elections, and has been an Independent MPP since being kicked out of the Ontario PC caucus in March of 2019 for disrespectful comments towards parents of autistic children.
Hillier pointed to a significant decline, in his perception, of the current state of political discourse as a factor in his decision to leave political life. “We’ve seen this play out to our detriment over the last couple of years. And, I would say it’s getting worse. It’s not getting better. There’s many reasons for it. I’m not going to go into all the reasons. But I think if anyone looks at the state of Canadian society today, the state of political discourse and debate in Canada they will recognize that there is a level of vitriol, a level of animus, invective, that is present today, that…to the degree we’ve never before seen.”
Indeed, Hillier has seen himself get in legal and political hot water several times over the past few years for both his words and his actions.
In April of 2021, Hillier was charged by police for failure to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act, after he attended an Aylmer, Ontario church service in which public safety protocols were not being followed.
In November of the same year, Hillier apologized for a social media post in which he used the names and photos of people who had died, falsely stating that they had passed due to the COVID-19 vaccine.
In late January of 2022, Hillier called Canada’s Minister of Transportation, Omar Alghabra, a “terrorist,” garnering widespread criticism for what many regarded to be a racist statement.
Shortly after, in the same month, Hillier made a series of social media posts falsely blaming “domestic terrorism” and “shorting (of) the food supply” for an empty meat cooler at the Smiths Falls Walmart. The Walmart store confirmed that the empty coolers were merely a result of malfunctioning equipment, not supply chain issues.
In February of 2022, at the height of the occupation in Ottawa, Hillier encouraged followers on social media to tie up 911 phone lines as a means to protest police actions, leading to the hashtag #ArrestHillier trending on Twitter. In an interview with CBC the following Tuesday, prominent Ottawa lawyer Michael Spratt said that Hillier “should be prepared to soon hear from police” because of these comments. Ottawa Police have said they are “looking into the incident.”
In his announcement, Hillier also lamented being rebuked by several municipal councils in his riding. “I’ve been condemned by a number of municipal councils in my area, condemned because I dared have a different view.”
“It wasn’t just municipal councils that condemned me,” Hillier added. “It was not just the media parrots who condemned me, but also the Ontario legislature has condemned me now on two occasions,” Hillier continued, going on to describe an Ontario Legislature motion in late February of 2022, unanimously approved by all parties in the Ontario Legislature, in which Hillier was rebuked and required to apologize for his disreputable conduct before he could again be recognized by the Legislature.
“The last one has now taken the never-before-seen action of actually preventing me from being in the Legislature and representing that point of view, or my constituents’ point of view,” Hillier said. “The Speaker has been authorized not to recognize me, not to permit me to table motions, or order paper questions. The house has authorized the Speaker to prevent me from asking questions or attending committees. And this is all apparently now because of some tweets that I put out and let me be very clear on this. I stand by those messages,” Hillier said, stating that his words had been taken out of context or exaggerated. “I don’t stand by the lies that have been attributed to those messages. I don’t stand with the exaggerations and the embellishments that people have taken liberty with those tweets.”
Hillier hinted at what might be coming up next in his career. “Our political system is broken. There is no sense spending any more time to fix a broken system from within, when the problem lies without. I’ll continue to be outspoken and I’ll continue to be a voice for freedom, and I look forward to continuing to work with so many good people who do recognize the danger and look forward to working with them as we help shape public opinion, help restore the view and the understanding that freedom, healthy discussion, debate will bring us prosperity, will bring us enjoyment, and will end this age of dishonesty that we have embraced in Canada and Ontario today.”