Randy Hillier speaks out, alleging ‘outrageous demands,’ ‘violation of the law’ against Ford government
Randy Hillier is fighting back against Ontario’s PC government in a no-holds-barred statement released Monday.
On Friday, the Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP was permanently removed from the PC caucus. Hillier was accused of saying “yada, yada, yada” to a parent of a child with autism during question period on Feb. 20. Later that day, he was suspended. Hillier denied the accusation.
WATCH: Hillier says he was heckling NDP, not parents with children with autism
In Monday’s statement, Hillier alleges tensions were rising well before the “yada, yada, yada” incident. He writes that during his first meeting with Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French, at the Ford residence on Aug. 2, “Dean informed me that he ‘wanted me out of caucus.'”
In the months that followed, Hillier alleges “an underhanded and relentless campaign” to remove him from the party.
The MPP gives 10 main reasons that he believes he was expelled from caucus, which include: “My refusal to breach oath of office, my refusal to accept the obstruction and prevention of caucus criticism or input on public policy, for raising concerns of possible illegal and unregistered lobbying by close friends and advisers employed by Premier Ford, my refusal not to stand and applaud for the routine.”
Hillier also alleges he was told he needed to seek “permission” to attend his brother’s funeral.
“This, to me, is the most egregious act. It undermines me as a person and thereby undermines all Ontarians by putting party politics above compassion and respect,” Hillier wrote.
However, he says he was offered a path back to the party.
“These outrageous demands and distortions/corruption of my responsibilities culminated with the following condition of reinstatement to the PC caucus. Even when the government is in violation of the law or engaged in unlawful activity, I must accept these decisions as a team member and neither dissent in caucus nor speak publicly of these illegal/unlawful actions,” Hillier wrote.
WATCH: Insights into why Randy Hillier was expelled from Tory caucus
Global News previously reported on sources who said in mid-February that the PC caucus was informed that cabinet had recommended Hillier be expelled. The Premier’s Office denied the report.
Global News has since learned that at a subsequent caucus meeting in early March, a number of cabinet ministers spoke, reiterating a desire for Hillier to be removed permanently.
Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Sylvia Jones allegedly explained her view to caucus that Hillier was not a team player, noting his attempts to undermine the party numerous times before. Sources say Attorney General Caroline Mulroney evoked the teachings of her father, former prime minister Brian Mulroney, saying he taught her that caucus is not a democracy and that all decisions should rest with the leader.
WATCH: Hillier defends comments in Queen’s Park following suspension
Mulroney urged caucus members in attendance to support Ford’s decision on Hillier. Sources say Ford also spoke, saying that he had invited Hillier to his office numerous times since becoming premier but the invitations were declined. The premier also allegedly told caucus it seemed Hillier was dead set on disruption.
In a letter Friday morning to the ousted MPP, caucus chair Daryl Kramp wrote: “I am writing to inform you that a decision has been made by the leader of our party to expel you from the Ontario PC caucus on a permanent basis.”
Kramp noted the decision was made after a review of Hillier’s conduct and what he described as continued attempts by Hillier to “escalate the situation in public.”
The same day the letter was issued, a PC caucus source not authorized to speak publicly told Global News: “The message is that if we don’t toe the party line and do exactly as told, we will get kicked out. It’s also concerning because we were told there would be further discussion about Randy, however, that did not happen.”
WATCH: Hillier says he won’t presume there’s ‘improper motive’ on suspension
In February, another source within the party said: “I think the move to remove Randy should send a chill through the ranks of caucus to those MPPs who may think about stepping out of line.”
After publication of this story, a spokesperson for Ford issued a statement calling Hillier’s letter “an outright lie.”
“These fabrications are absurd and categorically false. This further shows Randy Hillier never wanted to be a true member of our PC team despite repeated attempts by Premier Ford to engage him as an important member of our caucus. In fact, Premier Ford made overtures to Randy Hillier since the election to encourage his participation, including naming him as a committee chair,” Simon Jefferies wrote in a statement.
“If any of this letter was true, why didn’t Randy Hillier quit caucus on principle or raise these issues with the Premier? Instead he launched a PR campaign begging to get back into caucus.”
Meanwhile, Hillier ended his statement by reassuring constituents that his political affiliation will not impact his ability to represent his constituents.
“Having conviction is more important than playing politics,” Hillier wrote. “That representation of my constituents is more important than being buddies with backroom operatives whose only mission is unrestrained power and control that always leads to corruption. I am now your conservative, independent member for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston and I continue to be proud to represent you.”
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