Canadian politician charged by Ottawa police over Freedom Convoy truckers’ protest

Canada MPP Randall Hillier, facing nine new charges, accuses Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of attempting to silence his political opposition

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A Canadian elected member of provincial parliament was arrested Monday in connection to last month’s "Freedom Convoy" protests in Ottawa against vaccine and coronavirus-related mandates. 

The Ottawa Police Service announced the arrest of Randall Hillier, 64, of Perth, Ontario. He’s served for the past 15 years as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston. 

The nine new charges include two counts of mischief/obstruction of property exceeding $5000, three counts of counseling an uncommitted indictable offense, one count of obstruction related to resting a person aiding a public/peace officer, two counts of obstruction related to resisting a public officer and one count of assault against a peace or public officer. He is scheduled to appear in court later Monday. 

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Ottawa-based defense attorney David Anber, who is representing Hillier and others charged in connection to the truckers’ demonstration, told Fox News Digital that he’s still waiting on key information from the prosecutor on what supposed actions by Hillier are being tied to these charges. 

He confirmed that Hillier, who turned himself in to police headquarters earlier Monday, is denying that he ever assaulted a peace or public officer. Asked about whether charges against an elected official in connection to a protest is unprecedented in Canada, Anber said it’s more common in autocracies. 

"It’s certainly uncommon and something we see more commonly in societies that we wouldn’t consider liberal democracies or otherwise free societies," Anber told Fox News Digital by phone Monday. "There’s obviously a certain chill that goes down the spine of anybody when this happens, and we’re going to see what the allegations are before I comment any more on that." 

In their press release, Ottawa police said it received "multiple complaints about social media posts and other activities" in February related to Hillier’s alleged role in "ongoing illegal protests." 

As a result, the Criminal Investigations Unit, a police task force established to investigate criminal behaviors during the protest, launched an investigation and the charges resulted from its ongoing work. 

Hillier’s office criticized what they described as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "dictatorial over-reaction to peaceful protesters in Ottawa" in allegedly allowing the arrest of his political opposition. 

"I look forward to the opportunity to defend myself against these charges," Hillier said in a statement shared by his office. "Questioning and challenging public policy is the role and responsibility of any elected representative. Non-violent civil disobedience has been a globally accepted means of expressing grievance against governments, until 2022 in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Canada." 

"I’ve been asked to surrender for expressing myself at the Freedom Convoy, and I’ve been deemed that I have to prove that I’m not a danger to society to have my freedom," Hillier told reporters, according to a video shared to his official Facebook page showing him walking toward Ottawa police headquarters Monday. "Let’s see what happens." 

Horses are brought in to disperse the crowd in front of Parliament Hill  in Ottawa, on Feb. 18, 2022.

Horses are brought in to disperse the crowd in front of Parliament Hill  in Ottawa, on Feb. 18, 2022. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that Hillier also told reporters outside the building that he never assaulted an officer and only greeted people at the protest with "love and affection and embrace and handshakes." 

"So, unless handshakes or warm embraces are now considered assault, I have no idea," Hillier continued. 

Hillier had already been facing charges for defying Ontario’s lockdown orders last April for organizing events at a restaurant and outdoor patio the government ordered shut due to the pandemic. 

Earlier this month, the independent politician announced in a video message that he would not be seeking re-election for the member of provincial parliament position he’s held since 2007. 

"Our political system is broken," he said in the video. "There is no sense spending any more time trying to fix a broken system from within when the problem lies without." 

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His announcement came after the Ontario legislature unanimously passed a motion preventing Hillier from participating in chamber for what Government House Leader Paul Calandra described as "racist and discriminatory" comments against federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and for social media posts Calandra alleged suggested of calls for violence. Hillier was suspended from Twitter last month.