Ontario MPP Randy Hillier smokes a cigarette as he speaks with the media before turning himself in at the Ottawa Police Services headquarters, Monday, March 28, 2022 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
A fringe right-wing Canadian politician is now facing charges for his involvement in the Ottawa trucker occupation. Randy Hillier, a 64-year-old independent Ontario MP, turned himself in to police Monday morning and was charged with assaulting a peace officer, two counts of obstructing a public officer, mischief and counselling mischief, among other things. In total, he faces nine charges. He was a member of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government until he was booted in 2019.
Hillier was an enthusiastic supporter of the convoy and spent much time with the truckers embedded at the Canadian Parliament earlier this year. In one alleged incident, on Jan. 29, Hillier encountered a gated-off area, threw the gate out of the way, struck a peace officer with his shoulder, and yelled at the protestors to “go.” Other charges relate to him encouraging people to tie up emergency lines in Ottawa. The anti-vaccine and anti-mandate “freedom convoy” took over the Canadian capital for roughly three weeks before being pushed out by police.
Prosecutors said most of their evidence was posted online by Hillier himself, including a video of the metal gate incident. Hillier told reporters he was contacted by police on Sunday and decided to turn himself in. Outside the police station, he said, “Unless handshakes or warm embraces are now considered assault, I have no idea."Hillier has been an active and enthusiastic supporter of far-right movements and conspiracy theories for some time now. In office since 2007, he formerly sat as a Progressive Conservative but was suspended from the caucus in 2019 after mocking parents of children with autism. He recently announced he would no longer be seeking re-election.“The cheese slipped off the cracker with this guy. He’s gone rogue. The guy’s lost his mind, in my opinion,” Premier Ford said of Hillier in October.
Since being booted from his party, he’s aligned himself with the fringe-right PPC party, anti-vaccine influencers, and far-right actors. He recently was kicked off Twitter for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. Since the onset of COVID-19, Hillier has been very active in COVID-conspiracy activism. He’s spoken at countless anti-mask rallies and made a plethora of inflammatory statements. In October 2021, Hillier was roundly condemned for tweeting out photos of several people and claiming their deaths were connected to the COVID vaccine. Some of the people’s loved ones said he used their photos and death without their permission and misconstrued their deaths to spread anti-vaccine falsehoods. Hillier has since been released on a $35,000 bond and the condition he doesn't post about the truckers on social media.Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.