Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP Randy Hillier has turned himself into police for charges related to the occupation of Ottawa, dubbed the "Freedom Convoy".
The convoy effectively shut down downtown Ottawa for the better part of a month starting in late January.
Hillier, for his part, now faces the following nine charges:
- One count of assaulting a peace or public officer.
- Two counts of obstructing or resisting a public officer.
- One count of obstructing or resisting someone aiding a public or peace officer.
- Three counts of counselling an uncommitted indictable offence, two of them considered mischief.
- Two counts of mischief or obstructing property exceeding $5,000.
The Ottawa Police Service said that in February, they received “multiple complaints about social media posts and other activities of an individual as part of the ongoing illegal protests.”
The 64 year old MPP, who recently announced he won't seek re-election after a 15 year run in the area, has denied assaulting an officer in any capacity, saying he only greeted people with "love and affection and embrace and handshakes."
"So unless handshakes or warm embraces are now considered assault, I have no idea," Hillier told reporters.
Hillier surrendered to police Monday morning after receiving a call from police on Sunday.
The MPP was expelled from the Progressive Conservative caucus prior to the COVID-19 pandemic for "disrespectful" comments towards parents of children with autism, and has frequently been accused of spreading misinformation throughout the last two years.
In February, Hillier was barred from legislature for different tweets deemed to be racist and inciting violence, and in early March he was banned from twitter permanently.
During the Convoy, some called for him to be arrested for encouraging people to flood Ottawa police phone lines, quoting a tweet where Ottawa Police specifically asked residents to refrain from doing so.
Throughout the pandemic he has been cited several times for violating COVID-19 pandemic rules and attending various anti-mandate protests, resulting in what he says are about 25 different charges.
Hillier was expected to be in court sometime on Monday.
Story by Owen Fullerton, YGK News, for the Local Journalism Initiative