Ontario MPP openly flouts lockdown rules with photo from Christmas party
Controversial Ontario MPP Randy Hillier is stirring the proverbial pot yet again this holiday season by blatantly disobeying province-wide lockdown orders to host a Christmas gathering with at least 15 people in attendance.
We only know this, of course, because the fiercely-conservative politician tweeted out photo evidence from the event.
"#OnPoli #WeAreLivingALie #NoMoreLockdowns," wrote Hillier on Twitter when sharing the photo around 8:15 p.m. on Sunday, December 27. "Merry Christmas. Peace and goodwill to all."
The image shows Hillier sitting at the head of a table with a Budweiser in his hand, surrounded by apparent family members — all adults, save for one little kid.
Backlash was swift and harsh.
My neighbour with 3 children is on a vent fighting for her life due to COVID-19 and acquired from community spread. Directly from the type of gatherings you believe you have a right to.— SaraFree (@freegrrlSara) December 28, 2020
Your “right” to swing ends at someone else’s nose. @fordnation do something about this. NOW!
Ontario residents immediately started sharing Hillier's tweet as an example of rich and powerful people flouting COVID-19 lockdown rules, criticizing the situation as unfair and illegal, and demanding that everyone in the photo be fined.
This is exactly what Hillier was going for.
You see, unlike Ontario Finance Minister Rod Philips, who was just busted travelling outside the country despite his administration's repeated pleas for everyone to stay home, Hillier wants to be seen defying lockdown orders: He's been actively rallying against them throughout the pandemic.
"I will always remain free," tweeted the 62-year-old Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP just before 2 a.m. that same evening. "It is my life to enjoy not at the whim or discretion of others, it is my home to welcome those I choose."
"Never will the government determine who I can welcome into MY home, it is mine not theirs," continued Hillier, once again including the hashtags #onpoli, #wearelivingalie and #nomorelockdowns.
Bring it on— Randy Hillier (@randyhillier) December 28, 2020
Hillier, who was expelled from the Ontario PC caucus in March for a string of moves that started with dismissive remarks made to the parent of a child with autism, continued his Twitter rant around 2:45 a.m. on December 28.
"The lies and deceptions of COVID are over. How and why so many allowed themselves to be deceived will take years to to uncover, but I and many other Canadians will not accept the deception any longer," he wrote, once again retweeting his family Christmas photo.
"We are free and will defend our freedom."
"I already have one charge that has a court date of January 7. Bring on another," wrote Hillier, who was charged by Toronto Police for Failing to Comply with the Reopening Ontario Act in November after hosting an anti-lockdown rally with Maxime Bernier at Queen's Park.
It's time to do something about Maxime Bernier and Randy Hillier. Both should be charged with incitement, and using disinformation to radicalize.— Vickie Somers #TeamCanada (@SoMersVick) October 23, 2020
Anti-masker protest in Toronto turns violent as man tries to storm Queen's Park https://t.co/3HfZUaaexw
Thousands of people have now spoken out against Hillier's Christmas party online, decrying his actions as selfish and irresponsible, and are continuing to do so today as Ontario reports a record new 2,553 cases of COVID-19 overnight.
Others are standing up for the MPP, sending him photos of their own large gatherings and capslock screaming about their rights of free speech.
"Are you free to punch a child in the street? Drive your car 120kms in a school zone? Are you free to smoke at your doctor's office or on a plane? No... but I hope you recognise these laws are for the good of society," wrote one person in response to Hillier and his supporters. "You broke the law on physical gathering. Fines required."
"If only 'your freedom' didn't put *other* people at risk," wrote another to Hillier directly.
"You live in a society, you must take responsibility for keeping others safe. ESPECIALLY if you are part of the government, and that society literally pays your bills. Get over yourself!"
As long as all the people in this picture are denied health care if they get sick from COVID, I’m good with their gathering. And if Mr Hillier dies from COVID, we should be allowed to celebrate and piss on his rotting corpse in the public square. Sound fair?— Jeff Hammer 🇨🇦🙏🏽 (@Maachman) December 29, 2020
Discussion has been getting heated among the dueling groups, to say the least, but the fact remains that Ontario's current lockdown rules ban all indoor organized public events and social gatherings (except for those among members of the same household.)
A change.org petition already existed before the tweet with thousands of signatories calling upon Ontario's Attorney General to punish Hillier to the maximum over his repeated COVID-19 violations.
A letter signed by more than 100 Ontario doctors similarly asks the MPP to stop "spreading misinformation that minimizes the seriousness of COVID-19 to support your personal anti-lockdown and anti-mask beliefs."
"Instead of spending time fighting against public health measures to contain COVID-19, you could put your energy into something useful such as economic, social, and mental health supports to help the local population get through this difficult time," reads the letter, authored by Sydenham physician Jeanette Dietrich and published on December 20.
"While I recognize that it is legitimate to debate the relative risks and benefits of lockdowns, that debate must be based on valid representations of the effects of COVID-19," Dietrich states. "I urge the public to ignore you and heed the advice of trained health care professionals."
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