Ontario MPs Call for Investigation of Politicians’ Anti-Immunization Messages

NDP MPs Caterine Fife, of Waterloo, left, and Peggy Sattler of London West submitted a co-written letter to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario requesting an investigation into the MP’s anti-vaccination messages Randy Hillier. (Submitted – image credit)

Two Ontario NDP MPs in the provincial parliament are calling on the Integrity Commissioner to investigate anti-vaccination messages shared last week by another politician on his social media.

Waterloo MP Catherine Fife and London West MP Peggy Sattler, who is also the NDP opposition House leader, submitted a co-authored letter to the Integrity Commissioner’s office on Friday , after images of several people appeared in posts on the online accounts of Randy Hillier, an independent Member of Parliament for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston.

Tuesday’s articles suggest the individuals died or suffered a “permanent side effect shortly after receiving their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

CBC News spoke to Ammah Navab, a Cambridge family member of a person listed in the Articles, who said her sister Farisa Navab died on September 11 after being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

Submitted by Ammarah Navab

Submitted by Ammarah Navab

Navab said his sister’s private health information had been used without permission and asked Hillier to delete the messages and apologize.

“It’s not like ordinary people who make assumptions. He’s someone in power who posts messages to thousands of followers, lies about my sister’s death, and uses her as ‘proof’. .. It’s disgusting, ”Navab said last week.

Hillier has not deleted the posts or publicly responded to concerns expressed by family and others who commented on the posts.

He did not respond to CBC News requests for comment on what is in the posts or the call for an investigation.

Inquiry request

The letter, obtained by CBC News, calls for an investigation under the Members’ Integrity Act or the Ontario Parliamentary Convention provision, and asks the Commissioner to determine whether a contravention has been committed.

“We believe that the conduct of MPP Hillier constitutes a flagrant and reprehensible violation of Ontario parliamentary convention,” Sattler and Fife said in the letter.

He said the family and friends of some of the people pictured are outraged that “the death of their loved ones is being used as propaganda on social networks.”

“Mr. Hillier did not seek consent for the use of these photos and also blocked family and friends from his account when asked not to use their family’s grief for political purposes.” , indicates the letter.

Navab confirmed to CBC News that her sister’s photo and personal information had been used without permission. She also said that she and her mother had been blocked by some of Hillier’s social media accounts.

“As members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, it is our duty to respect, protect and defend our communities, not to use the personal information of Ontarians without their consent to advance a dangerous agenda and anti-science. Mr. Hillier showed contempt for his role as an elected member, and disrespected these grieving families and their loved ones, ”the letter read.

He says “appropriate sanctions” should be imposed to hold Hillier accountable.

The complaint must be in writing

A spokesperson for the Office of the Integrity Commissioner said in an emailed statement to CBC News that Fife and Sattler had been made aware of the process for making a request for an investigation.

Chris Young / The Canadian Press

Chris Young / The Canadian Press

“The request must be made in writing and set out the grounds for the belief and the alleged contravention. The law also requires that a copy of the request be given to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly,” the statement said.

Once a request is made, the Commissioner reviews it and determines whether it is under investigation. If the auditor conducts an investigation, he will file a report with the President for consideration by the assembly.

A spokesperson for Fife and Sattler confirmed that they are following the standard process.

First reaction

Hillier’s posts have received wide attention and have elicited hundreds of comments online.

Premier Doug Ford also reacted to the messages, at a press conference Friday, after being asked about the alleged disinformation.

“I think it’s appalling that an elected official would do that, put somebody who died for some other reason and publish it, and say it’s because they were vaccinated. It’s disgusting to me. This is the reason Randy Hillier is not in our party This is the reason Randy Hillier will not win the next election if he decides to run. “

Hillier was kicked out of the PC Party of Ontario caucus in 2019 after making “disrespectful” comments to parents of children living with autism.

Ford also said on Friday that Hillier’s constituency has high vaccination rates and his own constituents “don’t believe in him either.”

“The cheese slipped off the cracker with this guy; he’s become a thug. The guy’s lost his mind, in my opinion, and I ignore him. I think that’s ridiculous. I wouldn’t even give him the time of day if I was the media. That’s what he loves. “

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