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More municipalities speak out against Randy Hillier’s COVID-19 rhetoric

Click to play video: 'Several municipal councils adopt resolution condemning M.P.P. Randy Hilliers COVID-19 statements and actions' Several municipal councils adopt resolution condemning M.P.P. Randy Hilliers COVID-19 statements and actions
Resolution started in South Frontenac is now supported by Smiths Falls and Central Frontenac councils – Mar 25, 2021

A motion initiated in South Frontenac to denounce MPP Randy Hillier‘s stance on the COVID-19 pandemic is getting attention and support from other municipal councils in his riding, Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston.

The motion was put forward by Coun. Ron Sleeth, who wrote that Hillier has shown a “blatant disregard for those restrictions and regulations put in place for the safety of residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Read more: South Frontenac council votes to denounce Randy Hillier over COVID-19 rhetoric

Along with sending those sentiments to Queen’s Park, council promised to forward the motion to other local municipalities in Hillier’s riding, asking them to denounce the MPP.

So far, Global News has heard back from leaders in four other municipalities who said they have voted or will soon vote on similar motions.

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Both Central Frontenac and Smiths Falls councils have endorsed the resolution.

During a committee of the whole meeting on March 22, Smiths Falls Mayor Shawn Pankow called Hillier’s behaviour “reckless and irresponsible.”

“As much as we’re exhausted with the pandemic situation, we’re more exhausted and frustrated with his continued resistance,” Pankow said.

Two other municipalities have yet to discuss the matter but are planning to do so.

On Wednesday, Perth’s Mayor John Fenik said they have yet to receive the motion, but told Global News that council will debate the resolution if it’s brought forward.

Still, Fenik went on record condemning Hillier’s actions.

“Randy Hillier has continually disregarded public health measures, he’s said we don’t need to wear a mask, he’s talked about this pandemic being a hoax and people being lied to, this isn’t the case,” Fenik said.

Click to play video: '‘It’s infuriating’: Constituents of MPP Randy Hillier call for his removal' ‘It’s infuriating’: Constituents of MPP Randy Hillier call for his removal
‘It’s infuriating’: Constituents of MPP Randy Hillier call for his removal – Mar 4, 2021

North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins feels confident council will pass the South Frontenac motion when it comes before it next month.

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“It’s just a bunch of rhetoric, he just keeps spewing out the same misinformation,” Higgins said.

He’s not representing the constituents in his riding.”

In fact, Higgins has promised to run against the longtime MPP in the next election and take Hillier’s spot for the Progressive Conservatives. Hillier is currently representing the riding as an independent after being kicked out of the PC caucus in 2019.

In a phone interview Thursday, Hillier says his stance has always been that lockdowns are not constitutionally sound, that they are ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and that they do more harm to people than they help.

Hillier said he’s become a target because people who speak out and offer dissenting views are attacked, especially on social media. The provincial representative has been temporarily banned from Twitter at least twice for posts referring to COVID-19.

He called the actions of the municipal councillors “objectionable and offensive.”

Read more: Ontario budget to spend billions on emerging from COVID-19 pandemic

He said throughout the pandemic, his office has received numerous calls from people who are being harmed by the lockdowns and their pleas are being ignored, including by the councillors speaking out against him.

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As of Thursday, Hillier said he hasn’t spoken to any of the local politicians who have voiced their disapproval of him.

When asked if he believed he was representing the views of his constituents, he said he knows those in his riding do not have a “singular, homogenous” point of view.

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