Independent MPP Randy Hillier is facing the prospect of more discipline at the legislature — this time for actions related to the People’s Party of Canada in last year’s federal election campaign.
Ontario’s integrity commissioner J. David Wake issued two reports Wednesday that recommended MPPs reprimand Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston) for breaches of parliamentary convention.
While investigating a complaint that Hillier had used the personal information of his constituents to send emails on “no more lockdown” protests and the People’s Party of Canada, Wake said he found evidence the MPP used his taxpayer-funded constituency office for partisan political purposes.
Hillier permitted his daughter “to film the announcement of her candidacy for the PPC in the 2021 federal election from that office,” Wake said in a statement.
“Staff time and devices provided by the Legislative Assembly were used to send and film partisan messages with respect to the PPC.”
The findings follow two previous votes in the legislature to censure Hillier — one for inappropriate conduct and the other after nine criminal charges were laid against him during the Ottawa trucker convoy protest over public health measures to fight COVID-19.
Hillier is free on $35,000 bail, has issued a public appeal for help with his legal bills, and is banned from Twitter for violating its COVID misinformation policy. Premier Doug Ford ejected Hillier from the Progressive Conservative caucus in 2019.
In last year’s federal election, Hillier’s daughter Chelsea ran for the PPC in the southwestern Ontario riding of Elgin-Middlesex-London. She placed fourth and the party did not win any seats.
In a second report, Wake focused on social media posts in which Hillier claimed “without foundation” that the illnesses and deaths of several people he named and pictured were caused by COVID-19 vaccines.
Wake noted the legislature previously censored Hillier for that, and that the MPP apologized to the families involved.
A spokesman for Government House Leader Paul Calandra said Wake’s reports and recommendations are under review.
“A reprimand would procedurally be the same as the censors we have already done but could focus specifically on the findings of the reports,” Owen Macri added.
Hillier has said he will not run in the June 2 provincial election. He did not reply to a request for comment from the Star on Wednesday.
Last winter, Hillier was unanimously censored by MPPs from all parties after he called federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, who is Muslim, a “terrorist” in a social media post. He is not allowed to speak in the legislature unless he issues an apology, and has not been seen in the chamber for months.
The two complaints investigated by Wake were filed by New Democrat MPPs Ian Arthur (Kingston and the Islands) and Peggy Sattler (London West).
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