TORONTO — The Ontario legislature unanimously called Thursday on an Independent member who has been publicly opposed to COVID-19 vaccines and pandemic-related lockdowns to apologize for "a string of disreputable conduct."
Randy Hillier, who represents the eastern Ontario riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, has frequently posted COVID-19 misinformation and conspiracy theories throughout the pandemic.
Recently he posted an array of photos of people who had died, suggesting without evidence that they had died due to COVID-19 vaccination.
Family members of some of those people told various media outlets that they were angered by Hillier's post, and denied his allegations.
Hillier, who was kicked out of the Progressive Conservative caucus before the pandemic, has called on police to investigate the deaths.
According to Public Health Ontario, there are eight reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination that meet the provincial surveillance definition. In one case, it was determined that vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia was a cause of death in someone who received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
In another four, the adverse events were found to have possibly contributed to the death but were not the underlying cause, and in the remaining three the vaccine was not a cause of death.
Public Health Ontario says another 32 deaths following COVID-19 vaccination that have been reported to public health units are "persons under investigation." They don't meet the provincial surveillance definition, but investigations are underway.
"Preliminary information suggests that these events occurred in individuals with multiple co-morbidities which may be related to the cause of death," a recent Public Health Ontario report said. "There has been no association with the vaccine identified at this time."
A motion unanimously adopted by members of the legislature Thursday said the house expresses "its disapproval of, and dissociates itself from, a string of disreputable conduct" by Hillier, specifically the post using photographs of Ontarians who have died.
"This house calls on the member for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston to publicly apologize for this behavior and to desist from further conduct that is inappropriate and unbecoming of a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario," the motion said.
Hillier used his social media later Thursday not to apologize, but to retweet a supportive post from a doctor accused by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario of spreading misinformation.
Hillier has attended various protests and anti-lockdown rallies, and has been ticketed for allegedly breaking public health rules.
He has violated mask rules at the legislature four times, trying to enter the members' lobby to vote instead wearing a face shield. The Sergeant-at-Arms prevented Hillier from entering because of it, and Hillier alleged it breached parliamentary privilege.
The Speaker ruled against him.
"The Sergeant-at-Arms, in reminding the member of his obligation to wear a face mask, was acting properly and professionally...while the member for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston repeatedly, knowingly and, I would submit, carelessly disregarded that order," Speaker Ted Arnott said in his ruling.
"His conduct was reprehensible and should not be repeated."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2021.
Allison Jones, The Canadian Press