March 13, 2019 8:49 pm
Updated: March 14, 2019 2:46 pm

Supporters of suspended MPP Randy Hillier stand by the veteran politician

A number of supporters are speaking out after Randy Hillier was suspended from caucus last month. They claim the MPP's priorities are in the right place, unlike his party.

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After MPP Randy Hillier penned a letter to a handful of constituents, some supporters agreed with his position. This week, Hillier wrote a letter in which he lashed out at the government and the PC party, saying one of the reasons he was suspended in the first place was because of what he calls ‘childish grievances.’

Constituents like Merle Bowes are standing by their member of parliament.

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“Randy’s a strong man, a good thinker, representing his people,” he said. For nearly 20 years, Bowes has been a long time supporter and friend of Hillier, and he believes the MPP’s priorities are in the right place — unlike his party, he says.

READ MORE: Suspended MPP Randy Hillier hits back at Doug Ford government in letter, cites ‘childish grievances’

“It doesn’t matter about the people who put you there, it only matters about the party and that’s wrong,” said Bowes. Hillier was suspended from the PC caucus in late February for reasons the Ford government says were because of inappropriate comments. But in his letter, Hillier says this was not the case.

In the letter obtained by Global News, Hillier wrote, “The truth behind my removal is not due to banter in the house, but long-standing tensions between me and Doug Ford’s most senior advisors over what is expected of MPP’s in the PC Caucus.”

The MPP for Frontenac-Lanark-Kingston says he believes the move to suspend him was due to a list of issues the PC party had with him.

READ MORE: Suspended Ontario PC MPP says comments on autism weren’t directed at parents

“When I challenged the justification for suspension,” Hillier alleged in the letter, “backroom operatives provided me a laundry list of questionable and childish grievances, such as I don’t stand and clap for ministers enough, I wasn’t actively retweeting or sharing Facebook posts and I was putting my constituents first.”

That this is an issue is mind-boggling to supporters like Shawn Carmichael, who helped Hillier win his seat and worked with him for several years. He says the list of grievances shows what Hillier has had to deal with at Queen’s Park.

“It’s pretty difficult in that world, because if anybody spends just two minutes in Queen’s Park, they see that kindergarten show that goes on there very day,” Carmichael said.

Hillier was suspended indefinitely because of a comment he made that officials with the Ford government say was directed at parents of children with autism. The MPP defended that action, saying his comments were directed at an opposition MPP.

But at the end of the day, Carmichael says the incident and the laundry list of issues the party claims to have with Hillier are minimal.

“A lot worse has transpired inside of Queen’s Park,” Carmichael said. “Randy’s intentions are in the utmost in looking after his constituents. He is a voice of reason in that caucus and they need somebody like that there.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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