Ontario MPP Randy Hillier’s request to have his bail conditions revised has been denied by the court.
Hillier, an Independent member of Ontario’s legislature, turned himself in to Ottawa police last month over charges related to his participation in the Freedom Convoy protests earlier this year.
On March 29, he was released on bail with several conditions, including a prohibition from posting on social media about the Freedom Convoy protests, COVID-19 mask or vaccine mandates, or the “anti-vaccine cause.”
He is also banned from setting foot in downtown Ottawa, except for meetings with his lawyer, and from contacting any of the convoy organizers. In addition, Hillier cannot provide any support, including financial support, to the Freedom Convoy or any other organizations or causes that oppose the COVID-19 mask or vaccine mandates.
The MPP for Ontario’s Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding appeared in court on April 28, hoping to have some of his bail conditions lifted.
Hillier’s lawyer, David Anber, said his client’s bail conditions should be thrown out because they are overly restrictive, and that there is a weak connection between the convoy’s actions and opposition to mask and vaccine mandates.
Anber said the situation in the national capital has changed and Hillier’s bail conditions are no longer needed, citing Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson who said on April 27 that the city is now better organized to respond to protests than when the convoy arrived in late January.
However, Ontario Superior Court Justice Hugh McLean said Hillier and his lawyers had previously agreed to the conditions and “acknowledged (their) need” when they were set.
“Your client, shall we say, has an interesting record of not following the law. He has a record of not listening to laws that were legally passed,” McLean said to Hillier’s lawyer, referencing Hillier’s violation of provincial public health rules related to the COVID−19 pandemic.
McLean also noted that Hillier is held to a higher standard because he’s a member of a legislature.
The Freedom Convoy protests began in January to oppose the federal vaccine mandate on truck drivers crossing back into Canada from the United States. As massive convoys of trucks began to arrive in downtown Ottawa, the event evolved into a national movement to call for an end to all pandemic-related mandates and restrictions.
On March 27, the Ottawa police called on Hillier to turn himself in over nine charges related to the convoy protests, including two counts each of obstructing a public officer, counselling mischief and mischief/obstructing property over $5,000. He is also charged with obstructing a person aiding a peace officer, assaulting a public or peace officer, and counselling an uncommitted indictable offence.
Issac Teo and The Canadian Press contributed to this article