Ontario MPP Randy Hillier faces charges after convoy protest in Ottawa

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OTTAWA — Randy Hillier, an independent member of the Ontario legislature, surrendered to Ottawa police on Monday to face nine charges related to his participation in the protest that gripped the hearts of the nation’s capital last month.

OTTAWA — Randy Hillier, an independent member of the Ontario legislature, surrendered to Ottawa police on Monday to face nine charges related to his participation in the protest that gripped the hearts of the nation’s capital last month.

The Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston member arrived at police headquarters early in the morning and told reporters he was told by police on Sunday that charges had been laid and he understood they were related to the occupation of downtown Ottawa.

“Dissenting and dissenting opinions are now seemingly criminal, so it’s a worrying trend,” he said.

A statement from the Ontario Provincial Police said nine charges had been laid against the 64-year-old.

They include two counts of obstructing or resisting a public officer, one count of assaulting a peace officer or public officer, and three counts of counseling a criminal act not committed, two of which are considered misdeeds.

The police statement said an investigation began in February after “several complaints” were received regarding an individual’s social media posts and other activities.

Hillier said he had “thousands of interactions” with people and had no idea what led to the charge of assaulting a peace officer or public official.

“I’ve only greeted people with love and affection, a hug and a handshake, so unless handshakes and warm hugs are now considered aggression, I have no idea. “, did he declare.

The protesters arrived in Ottawa the last weekend of January to express their displeasure with public health measures related to COVID-19 and the federal government in general.

Hillier became a familiar face during the three-week protest, as large trucks and throngs of people blocked the streets and filled hearts with the deafening sounds of car horns and the smell of diesel. He appeared at several press conferences in support of the protesters.

Police intervened on February 18, after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act, to disperse crowds and reclaim roads around Parliament Hill.

Hillier was first elected to provincial office in 2007, but was removed from the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus in 2019.

He announced earlier this month that he would not run again in June.

Earlier this month, Twitter suspended Hillier’s account over concerns over his posting of what the social media platform considered misleading and potentially dangerous information about COVID-19.

During the pandemic, Hillier frequently posted misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and was fined for allegedly breaking public health rules. He also called Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra a terrorist and called public health measures “fascism”.

The Ontario Legislature first passed a unanimous motion condemning Hillier’s “disreputable conduct” after he published the names and photos of deceased people to suggest without evidence that they had died as a result of the coronavirus vaccination. COVID-19.

He later apologized, but the Legislature condemned him again and authorized the Speaker not to recognize Hillier for what Government House Leader Paul Calandra called racist and discriminatory statements to About Alghabra.

Hillier denied that his posts calling Alghabra a terrorist were racist, as he did not refer to Alghabra’s religion or ethnicity.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 28, 2022.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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