Former member of parliament (MP) Derek Sloan and member of provincial parliament (MPP) Randy Hillier had charges against them dropped on Thursday, June 29.
“The prosecutor agreed to drop the charges in exchange for a modest charitable donation or volunteer work,” explains a press release by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF). “Mr. Sloan made the charitable donation and Mr. Hillier volunteered at a food bank in Lanark County.”
Commenting on the recent development, Mr. Sloan said that “[t]he Ontario government’s lockdowns, which effectively banned any political protesting whatsoever, were a grave threat to our freedom in Canada. Restrictions may be over for now, but there was no indication how long they would last at the time. 2 weeks became 2 months which became almost 2 years of failed COVID policies.”
Both men attended a “No More Lockdowns” protest in Stratford, Ontario on April 25, 2021 in defiance of government implemented outdoor gathering restrictions.
They were subsequently charged under the Reopening Ontario Act, a doublespeak piece of legislation instituted by Premier Doug Ford that, despite its name, kept the province under lockdown orders.
The circumstances leading to the charges are detailed by the JCCF:
On April 8, 2021, the Ontario government declared a state of emergency over increasing cases of Covid-19. The government then implemented its most draconian measures yet by instituting an outdoor gathering ban which effectively made peaceful political protest illegal in Ontario. Mr. Sloan was a former MP, and Mr. Hillier was a sitting MPP at the time. Both believed that these lockdowns were harmful and attended these gatherings to protest the measures.
Both Hillier and Sloan have other charges outstanding in Ontario.
Mr. Hillier has an upcoming Charter challenge against the lockdowns that forbade outdoor protests that is set to be heard on July 27-28, 2023.
Sloan first came under fire after he criticized Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, for failing in her duty to have Canada adequately prepared for a pandemic. He was then kicked out of the federal Conservative Party under suspicious circumstances involving a donation from a registered Conversative Party member.