Is MPP Randy Hillier the “Controlled Opposition” for the Doug Ford Ontario PC Government?

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on November 12, 2021

Vladimir Lenin, the first and founding head of government of Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union, is known to have said “the best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

“Controlled opposition” is a protest movement that is suppressed as a result of it being led by someone that is an agent of or has a deal with the same government the movement opposes. For example, one of the leaders of the early stages of the French Revolution, Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Count of Mirabeau, was revealed, after his death, to have been under the pay of King Louis XVI – who the Count of Mirabeau claimed to oppose.

Could governments in Canada be using the same method of “controlled opposition” to try to suppress the dissenting voices against COVID-19 government policies?

That’s what is being claimed in Ontario.

Anti-Lockdown Voters In Ontario Divided?

Last weekend, former PC MPP Randy Hillier announced he is currently attempting to form his own provincial political party, despite the successful registration in early 2021 of Jim and Belinda Karahalios’s New Blue Party of Ontario as a right-of-centre alternative to Doug Ford’s Ontario PC Party.

Hillier’s announcement prompted some to ask why he would choose to wait until now to get a new provincial party off the ground, 20 months after the Ford PC government started imposing authoritarian COVID-19 measures on Ontarians and just six months before the next election.

Randy Hillier at is new party’s announcement.

During Hillier’s speech, which unconventionally turned a previously scheduled prayer service at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto into a partisan political announcement, Hillier was less than forthright with the crowd by stating he was bringing the “purple wave” to Ontario – seemingly suggesting his new venture was going to be affiliated with Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada – even though he wasn’t using “People’s Party” or “PPC Ontario” as the name of his supposed party.  Bernier and his party’s spokesperson Martin Masse had previously confirmed to media in September that the PPC wasn’t forming a provincial party in Ontario and they instead had an “informal alliance” with the New Blue Party of Ontario. 

In response to Hillier’s announcement, New Blue Party leader Jim Karahalios took to Twitter to claim that Hillier’s new venture was the result of Hillier having a “deal” with Ford’s Ontario PC Party. 

A Tale of Two PC Riding Associations

On July 21st, 2020, MPP Belinda Karahalios was expelled from Doug Ford’s PC caucus for voting against lockdown Bill 195, the Reopening Ontario Act.  Belinda Karahalios was the only current or former PC MPP to vote against Bill 195, with Hillier just debating it but not casting a vote.  Three weeks later, on August 13th, 2020, Jim and Belinda and 17 of their Cambridge PC board members were undemocratically removed from their Cambridge PC riding association board by Ontario PC Party headquarters.

MPP Belinda Karahalios at Freedom Rally in Waterloo, Ontario.

At the time of their ouster, the PC Party’s director of organization, Gareth Nielson, wrote to the Cambridge PC riding association board stating “The PC Party will not accept a riding supporting the activities of other provincial political parties or independents.”  By contrast, the Ontario PC Party allowed Hillier to remain on his Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston PC riding association board and control the board’s finances, for more than two years after his removal from the PC caucus in 2019.  Contrary to what supporters of Hillier suggest, his removal from the PC caucus had nothing to do with representing his constituents, or over a matter of principle, or even a disagreement over COVID-19 related measures.  Hillier had previously been suspended and then permanently removed from Ford’s PC caucus in March of 2019 after allegedly saying “yada, yada, yada,” to a parent of a child with autism following a tense Question Period in the Ontario legislature on February 20th, 2019. 

Jim Karahalios claims that during the PC Party conference call on August 13, 2020 that triggered their removal, a member of the PC executive asked party president Brian Patterson why they were taking this treatment with the Karahalios couple and not Hillier.  He claims that a source on the call told him that Patterson told the PC executive members that the Ontario PC Party had a “deal” with Hillier and he “wasn’t a concern.” 

Jim Karahalios spoke to The National Telegraph about this situation and explained that:

When a source in attendance at the PC executive meeting told me Brian Patterson said that Randy had a deal with the Ontario PC Party, I knew it was true. It explained why the PC Party was taking such unprecedented and undemocratic action against Belinda and her team but not against Randy and Randy’s team. Randy is an experienced, shrewd, and deceptive politician. 

Over the last two years, Randy found every excuse not to work with Belinda or me. Despite seldom showing up to Queens Park he never gave Belinda any of his allotted time to ask the Ford PC government questions during Question Period – always choosing to give it to a Liberal or Green MPP and later on to Roman Baber.  When we initially received the approval from Elections Ontario to use the New Blue Party of Ontario name for a political party, Randy made it very clear to me he wasn’t interested in ever joining.  He refused to allow Belinda to speak at his first protest in front of Queens Park and made sure that I wasn’t invited to his “End the Lockdown Caucus” when it formed. In the months that followed, he didn’t bother reaching out during my cancer diagnosis and recovery and most recently in August went as far as attacking me on Twitter by stating that my inability to meet with him during my cancer treatments was “bullshit.” Recently, he refused an offer from us to have a leadership race to lead the New Blue Party with the winner deciding on the party colours and name. All of the above wasn’t very rational behaviour by Randy unless someone knew what I knew, he was acting in this way because he had a deal with the Ontario PC Party.

At the end of 2020, Hillier’s Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston PC riding association board had accumulated $82,883 from unspent contributions and a taxpayer subsidy. Unlike an MPP’s constituency budget which cannot be used for partisan political campaigns, riding associations are permitted to issue political tax credits for contributions that MPPs can spend on virtually anything. 

To further support his claims that Hillier and the Ontario PC Party have a “deal,” Jim Karahalios pointed to a Tweet in August from Ford’s top pollster, lobbyist Nick Kouvalis, seemingly threatening Jim with “by the time @randyhillier is done with you, you’ll wish you didn’t piss on all your friends.” 

$66,532.76 In Taxpayer Money As A “Gift” To Hillier From The Ford PC Government?

More interesting and nuanced is the claim from Jim Karahalios that the Ford PC government made changes to Ontario’s election laws as a “gift” to monetarily benefit Hillier and simultaneously the PCs, to the exclusion of Belinda Karahalios.

Bill 254, An Act To Amend Various Acts With Respect To Elections And Members Of The Assembly, passed into law on April 15, 2021, is known for the Ford PC government bringing back a Liberal policy to subsidize the operations of Ontario’s four major political parties with millions of dollars from taxpayers. Bill 254 received criticism from various groups including the Canadian Taxpayer Federation.

Not as well-known is Jim’s observation that Bill 254 also changed Ontario’s election laws to allow, for the first time in Ontario’s history, an independent MPP like Hillier, to register an “Independent Riding Association” and issue political tax credits for contributions that can be used towards political campaigning. Furthermore, Bill 254 also changed the election laws to extend the per-vote taxpayer subsidy to independent MPPs, for the first time ever , while also ensuring the independent MPP’s former party also receives the per-vote taxpayer subsidy for the exact same vote total.

The changes to Ontario’s election laws made by the Ford PC government benefited every single MPP in the Ontario legislature (including independents) except for Belinda Karahalios.  While the PCs, Liberals, NDP, and Green and independent MPPs all now collect the taxpayer funded per-vote subsidy to campaign with, Belinda Karahalios does not. 

In August of 2021, shortly following the passage of Bill 254, Hillier took advantage of the new changes to register with Elections Ontario his own “Independent Riding Association” called the “Randy Hillier Riding Association,” thus allowing Hillier and the PC Party to “double dip” into the taxpayer trough, and each receive $2.54 in taxpayer money for each of the 26,194 votes Hillier received in 2018.  Thus, the Randy Hillier Riding Association and the Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston PC riding association, each receive $66,532.76 annually, to spend as they please, based on the vote total the PCs received in that riding at the 2018 general election. 

As the review and registration of Hillier’s new party will take at least three months to complete by Elections Ontario after and if he submits the completed paperwork, Hillier could theoretically continue to receive the per-vote taxpayer subsidy all the way up until the next Ontario election campaign starts in May of 2022, only to then collapse the Randy Hillier Riding Association when his new party is officially registered.

Jim told us that:

The Ford PC government would have never made such changes to Ontario’s election laws to benefit Randy if he didn’t have a “deal” in place with the Ontario PC Party and if the Ford PCs considered Hillier legitimate opposition.  When I saw the changes to Ontario’s election laws proposed in Bill 254, it was obviously the fruition of one aspect of the “deal” Randy had in place with the Ontario PC Party that Brian Patterson mentioned to the PC executive.  The financial benefit Randy receives in the form of taxpayer money, plus his poor attendance at Queens Park, and his lack of attacks directly against Doug Ford or the PC government in his criticisms of COVID-19 policies, are all elements of whatever deal he has in place.

In his speech, announcing his new party, Hillier didn’t mention Doug Ford or the Ontario PC Party once. 

Hillier Missing In Action in the Ontario Legislature

A review of Hillier’s voting record shows that Hillier has voted on just two pieces of legislation in the Ontario legislature since November 25th, 2020 – on May 31, 2021, he voted on Section 8(1) of Bill 195 and then on June 14, 2021, he voted on Bill 307 which was unrelated to COVID-19 lockdown measures.

When it comes to the major pieces of legislation related to COVID-19 restrictions, Hillier seems to have skipped those debates and votes. He debated but did not vote against the Ford PC government’s original passing of Bill 195, The Reopening Ontario Act, in July of 2020, which gave Ford the power to impose emergency measures as COVID-19 restrictions for up to two years. Hillier also did not debate or vote against Bill 12, Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Education and Healthcare Sectors Act, 2021, on October 21st, 2021, or vote in favour of MPP Roman Baber’s unanimous consent motion on October 5th, 2021 in favour of Baber’s private member’s “Jobs and Jab” bill. 

Instead of regularly attending the Ontario legislature in his role as an MPP, for which Hillier receives a taxpayer salary of $116,000 annually, Hillier has gained a following by spending his time touring the province on anti-lockdown advocacy and campaigning for his daughter during the most recent federal election campaign in her unsuccessful bid to become a Member of Parliament. Hillier only started his advocacy against COVID-19 lockdown measures after Belinda Karahalios voted against Bill 195 and was ejected from the Ford PC caucus and the New Blue Party was announced – more than six months after the Ford PC government had started imposing COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Over the same period of Hillier’s advocacy, Belinda Karahalios continued her regular attendance at Queen’s Park to debate and vote against legislation and ask the Ford PC government pointed questions during Question Period. She’s done this while she and Jim continue to build the New Blue Party and even during Jim’s year-long chemotherapy treatments, surgeries, and recovery from a cancerous tumour in his leg.  Jim appears to be back, up and walking and he says he is cancer-free. 

Hillier’s Provocative Statements As Political Theatre?

Hillier has succeeded in drawing public attention to himself through a series of provocative social media posts and public actions that often receive backlash from pro-lockdown proponents. Hillier’s pattern is to initially double down on his provocations only to later relent by deleting or apologizing for his posts. This has allowed him to receive public attention.  

On April 1, 2021, on Twitter, Hiller compared the restrictions proposed to combat the supposed “third wave” of COVID-19 cases to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Third Reich. On October 2nd, 2021, two days before the Ontario legislature was to resume legislative sittings, Hillier made a social media post stating “when the Ontario legislature reopens, people should bring a pot of boiling hot Tar and a case of feathers. Each politician who arrives deserves both a tar & feathering.” After initially boasting that he would not take down the post, Hillier eventually did in fact take it down. On November 5th, 2021, Hillier posted a public apology after initially doubling down on his decision to share pictures on social media – against the wishes of the families – of young Ontarians who had died, suggesting that they may have died as a result of a COVID-19 vaccine.  

These and other provocative statements and behaviours by Hillier have propelled him from relative obscurity as a backbench MPP without any significant legislative or public policy accomplishments over his 14 years in elected office, into someone with a public profile. Hillier’s COVID-19 advocacy draws his attention but also has the effect of painting the entire movement in opposition to COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates with the same brush.  It makes the anti-lockdown and anti-mandates movement vulnerable to criticisms that its proponents are “unhinged” or “erratic” while simultaneously making the Ford PC government look reasonable by comparison.

Hillier’s Progressive & Establishment Political Views:  Betraying Landowners; Calling Wynne Sex-Ed Critics “Outcasts”; Endorsing Christine Elliott 

At first, it is easy to dismiss Hillier’s actions as coming from someone who spontaneously shoots from the hip, only to be forced to back down later. But a closer look at Hillier’s political history shows that his recent advocacy may in fact be a shrewd and deceptive effort by an experienced politician to garner public attention.

Prior to his election as an MPP in 2007, Hillier made headlines and catapulted himself into elected office leading the Ontario Landowners Association and their predecessor the Lanark Landowners Association. During his time with the Landowners, Hillier specialized in sensational acts of civil disobedience like using tractor convoys to block highways.

After gaining elected office, Hillier turned his back on the Landowners he previously led and seldom spoke in favour of property rights that the Landowners were advocating. By the 2015 PC leadership race, Hillier referred to the Landowners, who also advocate against the influence of the United Nations on local Ontario laws, as including “fringe elements” and “nutbars.” Hillier went on to tell the Ottawa Citizen in an interview that courting their support was a mistake because “I would be devastated if any of them [the PC leadership candidates] knew just what (the landowners’ groups) are promoting these days.”

Over his 14 years in elected office, Hillier further drifted away from his early days claiming to be a “libertarian with a moral conscience” and helping crown Tim Hudak as PC leader, into aligning himself with the progressive wing of the Ontario PC Party. During the 2015 PC leadership, he publicly criticized PC leadership candidate, Monte McNaughton, for his opposition to Kathleen Wynne’s sex-ed curriculum that the Doug Ford PCs later approved, as being a “dogmatic” ideology that is for “outcasts” and he dismissed a pro-life columnist by telling him to “enjoy the wilderness” for supporting McNaughton’s policy.

By the 2018 PC leadership, Hillier was fully integrated into the progressive wing of the PCs.  Hiller endorsed and campaigned for Christine Elliott over candidates Tanya Granic Allen and Doug Ford (back when the latter was claiming to be a conservative). 

Jim explained to The National Telegraph the political differences between Belinda and himself, and Hillier and his close associates, pointing out that:

Randy doesn’t look out for his constituents and is not a principled conservative.  In his 14 years of elected office, he’s covered the entirety of the political spectrum in his opinions, from the right to the left and back again, all for his own benefit. During his anti-lockdown advocacy, Randy made sure to leave a trail of evidence for government officials to successfully lay charges against owners of private facilities who were in defiance of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. When Randy visited a church in Waterloo region, he took pictures of the congregants praying and posted it online despite objections from church officials. The government later used the picture as evidence in court to take away the building from the church.  And when he visited a restaurant that opened in defiance of the COVID-19 lockdown mandates, Randy was sure to post the pictures publicly for the whole world to see, resulting in the restaurant owners receiving fines they had to fight. 

In his career, Hillier has shown to be pro-choice, indifferent on the PCs promoting a carbon tax, indifferent when ballot stuffing was occurring within the PC Party, harshly critical of those opposing Kathleen Wynne’s sex-ed curriculum, and in favour of drug injection sites and the legalization of marijuana.  The Doug Ford PCs decided to abandon blue voters and now with an election coming up and with me back to full health, they are worried about the New Blue Party of Ontario. The Ford PCs’s only option is to attempt to divert attention away from the growth of the New Blue Party by bringing back the old Randy, making use of his shifty and deceptive ways, and have him attempt to divert attention away from us.  It won’t fool many because Ontarians expect principled consistency from their leaders.

Whether all the above adds up to Hillier being the “controlled opposition” of Ford’s PC Party is up for debate. Like with the Count of Maribeau, the truth may not reveal itself until the “King” is no longer in power, if ever. But one thing is for certain, the next few months of politics in Ontario is going to be very interesting.


The National Telegraph reached out to MPP Randy Hillier’s office with several questions related to this story and did not receive any response.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

27 responses to “Is MPP Randy Hillier the “Controlled Opposition” for the Doug Ford Ontario PC Government?”

  1. Helen Shwery says:

    Hillier. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  2. Jack McLellan says:

    The truth always comes out. Sometimes later rather than sooner.
    In this case we are fortunate that the rocks are being overturned and the facts are appearing.
    The simplest being, Hillier starting a new Party in Ontario to pushback against Ford and the PC , even though there is a Party (New Blue) who has a proven track record of battling Ford.

    It leave s a very simple question, "WHY?"
    I believe the majority of Ontarians are far too intelligent to miss the irony of such a move.

    It is sad , really. More energy, money and other resources are going to be sacrificed by all.
    The analogy that fits here:
    Imagine pushing a car, out of gas, down a grade, only to find out that one of the occupants has their foot on the brake..

  3. Maria says:

    Wow. Great article, thank you for all the research and documentation. Was undecided about Hillier, and now I can say that I’m well-informed. Disappointing, but the truth is far, far better than a sugar-coated, hopeful lie.

  4. Pierre says:

    What exactly is the point of being an MPP or creating a new political party if you don’t/won’t vote at Queen’s Park? Randy should stick to rallying. It’s the only thing he’s done in the past year while making $100,000+ off of taxpayers.

  5. Steve says:

    Sour grapes if you ask me. Has Jim Karahalios ever got along with anyone?

    That said, it is worth noting that Randy is not vaccinated and, thus, not allowed in the House to vote. Jim seems to be OK with that.

    • Pierre says:

      Being unvaccinated is not required to enter the Ontario legislature. Randy would have to show a negative covid test, like Belinda Karahalios and Rick Nicholls do. And considering that Randy had no problem wearing a face shield to the legislature last year, his "I don’t comply" excuse for not voting doesn’t hold up.

      • Pierre says:

        Being *vaccinated is not required

      • Kaitlyn McManingwell says:

        Sure it does. I will wear a face shield briefly but I will never let that corrupt genetic testing anywhere near me. They are very different to a lot of us.

  6. Debra says:

    Thanks for the article. Good points to consider. What about Roman Baber? Any evidence that he is also ‘controlled opposition’?

  7. LF says:

    It is getting more and more difficult to determine who’s telling the truth in politics and in public health. A lot of information here to take in and to think about. It’s almost impossible to trust anyone these days. The next few months should be interesting. Ontarians will have to pay close attention to figure out who is in it to win it for the right reasons.

    • Grace says:

      Actually, its become very easy to know who is telling the truth in politics…absolutely none. Party politics is about theatre and they all read a script.

  8. Bryan says:

    For me, "controlled opposition” or not. If the history reported in the article is correct, it seems Mr Hillier is more of a political opportunist who should never be trusted.

  9. Sig Jackson says:

    Such a sad state of affairs. More distractions, more deceptions, more nonsense to throw on the pandemic fires. These types of smear tactics are meaningless. It’s obvious that the author of this piece has no idea of how low he has gone in joining forces with a wannabe politician and his crew. Pathetic!

  10. margaret says:

    Thank you for this well researched article. Follow the money trail if you want to know the truth. Hillier to me has all the earmarks of a snake in the grass and I will be sharing this post with many others who will no doubt see through the hypocrisy.

  11. J N says:

    He came out from nowhere last year about the Toronto kids in parks which got him a name, but legislative actions are a different story. I have also been concerned as to the lack of votes in legislature. How does he justify that? Tbe Covid law photos and fines thing was interesting to consider.

    On the other hand he’s also been charged himself so perhaps it is just poor judgment. I think in the end the fact that he started this new party just now really says it all tho. I was disappointed when I read about it, and will stand by it.

    Politicians never fail to surprise in their constant schemes.

  12. Ray says:

    This was a surprise and looks to be a well investigated report. I have to say I am deeply disappointed in Hillier and will be sharing this on every platform I can along with friends. I guess the clincher is the fact he didnt even show up to vote and I remember when the first vote was and the MPP’s who were listed as voting and not voting and that drew a red flag. I figure he is either very shrewd or a schizophrenic when it comes to his stance publicly on covid etc… I suspect shrewd. So many people I know are going to feel betrayed by this person. Thanks for the report.


  13. Dan mandziuk says:

    Thank you for your insights into the party workings and un-workings. As a longtime pc supporter it may be time to rethink my donations.

  14. J says:

    This is interesting. Hillier used to to share my emails on his twitter and even scheduled a phone call with me right up until I let him know I had an array of internet properties all named to target Ford and the OPC, then I never heard from him again.

    Someone I know very well who was hugely influential in a multitude of Ontario protests told me Hillier was controlled months ago. He said what did it for him was that Hillier was trashing Bernier all the time in direct conversation saying things like "fuck that guy" and then virtually immediately after going on stage in "alliance" with Bernier.

    All anecdotes aside, his past and his voting record are sufficient evidence.

  15. David says:

    A supporter of Randy no more!!! Seriously makes me wonder if there are any politicians that serve the people and are not self-serving!! Sure it seems as though Belinda and the Blue Party do have integrity but a little taste of power and time have a way of spoiling politicians with good intentions.

  16. Greg says:

    Very disappointing. One more sold out, self serving whore….just what Canada does not need.

  17. Andrew S says:

    Psalms 118:8-9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

  18. AB says:

    Wyatt, I sent you a pm on fb messenger.
    Good article, thank you.

  19. Karen S says:

    I can tell you that your comments about the Ontario Landowners Association are completely ridiculous. I spoke to that organization about property rights on a few occasions, at Randy’s request, in the early 2000’s. But then some woman started doing "legal research" for them and she really WAS a nutbar. She had her own interpretation of all kinds of stuff that did not jive with established law (or for that matter, with reality). I tried to set her straight repeatedly but she was adamant that she had discovered some huge conspiracy and there was no way of shaking her from this. I myself WARNED Randy that this was becoming nutty. I myself severed ties with the group, and was glad to hear that Randy did so too.

    Based on your clear misunderstanding of what happened in connection with that group, I would venture to guess that all the rest of your comments are of equally low quality. I’m surprised Randy isn’t suing you for defamation, but I expect he’s probably too busy and you’re not worth the trouble.

    It appears that you used to work for the Post Millennial, but all your articles there were written two or more years ago. Did they fire you? What was your offence? Making stuff up? Poor research?

    • Not A Karen says:

      I know the woman you are talking about from the OLA. She’s put in the work to read and learn the law. Maybe you should reread what you wrote about her, then think about calling out people for their slanderous comments towards Randy Hilliar. Your words dont sound very different from theirs.

  20. Karen S says:

    You keep accusing Randy of wanting public attention, but with all due respect, I would say that it is YOU who crave public attention, and the method you’re using to get it is to publish scandalous accusations about someone who has behaved heroically throughout these past two years. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Randy’s comparison of the lockdown restrictions to Hitler’s Third Reich. The comparison is very apt, and should be made repeatedly.

    Frankly, you sound jealous of him, and so do the people who goad you into writing this stuff about him. You know who I mean.

  21. WW says:

    This is an interesting and well researched article. I don’t think it presents a "smoking gun". I don’t think I can conclude definitively that there he is a pawn for the Ontario PC’s. However, the fact that Hillier would create a new party at this time is extremely strange. Moreover, if the OFP was a provincial branch of the PPC, then why wouldn’t Maxime Bernier endorse him? I can only hope that both the OFP and the New Blue party put the interests of the public first and unite behind a common cause. Both of them share in that common responsibility.