Gordon Darrall | Mar 20, 2019
We have an answer to the March 7 headline in the Frontenac News – “Local PC Riding Association wants to know what Ford plans to do about Hillier”. We have now learned that Randy Hillier is no longer in the Conservative Caucus doghouse. Ford realized that Hillier is not a politician that can be leashed or muzzled, so he has kicked him out of the Conservative caucus permanently. Hillier is now sitting as an independent, unless he chooses to become a member of the NDP, Liberal or Green party caucus. This seems unlikely from Hillier’s history as an opposition MPP for the past 11 years.
When Hillier was elected last June, and the Conservatives under Doug Ford, formed a majority government, there was an expectation from people in the Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding that benefits would flow to us from Queen’s Park. This is a normal expectation, since ridings which have elected a candidate from the ruling party, are often chosen for project money and government favours. For 11 years in opposition, Randy Hillier could blame the Liberals for not supporting projects in his riding. As an elected member of the ruling party, we expected he would have access to the Conservative caucus, Cabinet members and the Premier, to promote the needs of this riding. Now he is out of favour with both the caucus and Premier, Doug Ford. I expect any requests from municipalities in this riding will now be put at the bottom of the pile. Doug Ford’s advisors will know that any provincial money coming to Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston will be claimed immediately by Randy Hillier - the result of his hard work and dedication to his constituents. They will not want to give Hillier any reason to ‘blow his own horn’.
So where does that leave us – the 77,000 eligible voters of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston? In battles between opposing forces there always seems to be “collateral damage”. This is damage that neither side wants to claim responsibility for causing to others. We, the voters, have had our democratic right to have a voice in the legislation trampled upon. Doug Ford, even without Hillier in his caucus, still has a majority in the legislature, and he probably expects another Conservative candidate will be elected next time we vote. He doesn’t need us! Randy Hillier continues to collect his MPP salary and will receive a severance package when he retires. The media will be interested in his comments, about the Ford government, for about two weeks, before his opinion becomes un-newsworthy . ‘What’s his name” will soon be another forgotten Conservative politician sitting as an independent. He can’t help us. Now the question should be, How do the interests of voters in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston get heard in Toronto at Queen’s Park?