Jun 24, 2020
North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins, who at one time counted himself as a supporter of MPP Randy Hillier, announced last week that, in the wake of a recent tweet by Hillier, he now “believes that the style of politics coming from our provincial riding does not bode well for anybody and a change is required.”
In his 6-paragraph statement, which was posted on Twitter, a service for which he shares a fondness with Hillier, Higgins devoted the first half to a discussion about racism. Last week, Hillier retweeted a statement by the Federal Minister of families, children, and social development Ahmed Hussein, that despite being a minister of the crown, his back gets up when a police cruiser comes behind him as he drives and he still gets followed around in store. “Guilty Conscience?” Hillier wrote at the top of the retweet.
This statement was quickly pulled from Hillier’s twitter feed, but it has circulated nonetheless. It has been widely condemned as having racist undertones for suggesting that the 46-year old Somali born Hussein, a lawyer who practiced immigration and criminal law before his entry into politics, has a reason to have a guilty conscience.
This is not the first controversial statement by Hillier, going back to his days as a community activist before entering politics. Early this winter he wrote an opinion piece, published in the Frontenac News, in which he claimed “the history of Canada demonstrates beyond any doubt that consensus, not conquest, was the relationship between the European settlers and the native Canadians.”
Early this week, Higgins told the News that Hillier’s tweet was not the reason that he decided to come forward, but it was the catalyst for him to act now. He said that Hillier’s recent attacks on the restrictions on personal freedoms that are part of the government’s COVID-19 response have been “inappropriate in the context of a pandemic”.
In his statement, he said “now is not the time to attack our government or public health professionals because we do not like the approach or the emergency orders that are in place”.
“I have worked well with Randy,” Higgins told the News, “but once his party came to power and he was not able to work within government in the interest of the riding, we were not being well served in the riding.”
Higgins has decided to consider seeking the Conservative nomination in the Lanark Frontenac-Kingston riding for the 2022 election.
“I feel I can be part of the change and need to consider submitting my nomination to the PC local riding association, and if successful try to be the next MPP.”
He said that he has not decided and is only considering taking this step, but he will decide by the beginning of July. Higgins reiterated a previous statement that he is 95% sure that he will not seek a third term as Mayor of North Frontenac. The next provincial election will take place in the spring of 2022, and the next municipal election in the fall of 2022.
He said that he is a rank and file Progressive Conservative Party member, and that it is his understanding that the current Lanark Frontenac Kingston Party riding association is made up of Hillier loyalists, s an independent.
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