Musings —02.28.2011 10:15 AM—
Pursuant to Section 30(1) of the Member’s Integrity Act, I have reasonable and probable grounds to believe the Member for Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox, & Addington, Mr. Randy Hillier, has contravened Ontario parliamentary convention. I am requesting that you conduct an inquiry under Section 31(1) of the Member’s Integrity Act and render an opinion.
The evidence outlined below and attached will show that Mr. Hillier is abusing taxpayer dollars and public resources for partisan political activity in a neighbouring riding. Mr. Hillier is using his website and legislative resources to further the interests of one of the candidates seeking the PC Party nomination in the riding of Carleton-Mississippi Mills. This activity is not only a violation of parliamentary convention, but arguably of basic ethical standards.
Mr. Hillier is the Progressive Conservative Member for Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox, & Addington, which shares a border with the riding of Carleton-Mississippi Mills.
Mr. Hillier maintains a constituency website, www.randyhilliermpp.com, that is registered to his constituency office (105 Dufferin Street, Unit 1, Perth, Ontario, K7H 3A5).
Mr. Norm Sterling is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills. The Progressive Conservative Association in Carleton-Mississippi Mills is in the midst of nominating their candidate for the provincial election to be held on October 6, 2011.
Mr. Jack MacLaren is the other candidate for the Progressive Conservative Nomination in Carleton-Mississippi Mills.
Mr. Hillier and Mr. MacLaren “are good friends” (Ottawa Citizen, February 18, 2011), and both served terms as President of the Ontario Landowners’ Association, with Mr. MacLaren succeeding Mr. Hillier after the latter resigned to run in the provincial election in 2007.
On February 10, 2011, Mr. MacLaren sent out an email to an undisclosed list with the subject line “Jack MacLaren – A change is needed for Carleton Mississippi Mills Riding.” (See Exhibit A.)
The email asked recipients to support Mr. MacLaren in a number of forms, including by purchasing a membership to the Ontario PC Party, forwarding the email to others in the riding of Carleton-Mississippi Mills, and engaging with Mr. MacLaren through social media tools.
In total, the email had six external links:
- To Mr. MacLaren’s website, jackmaclaren.com;
- To share Mr. MacLaren’s website;
- To like Mr. MacLaren’s Facebook page;
- To follow Mr. MacLaren on Twitter;
- To subscribe to Mr. MacLaren’s YouTube channel; and,
- To unsubscribe from the e-mail list.
All six external links were routed through www.randyhilliermpp.com, Mr. Hillier’s constituency website. (See Exhibits B1 through B6.)
The evidence demonstrates that Mr. Hillier is using his constituency office resources, paid for by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, to further the interests of a personal friend seeking a nomination for the PC Party.
That individual, Mr. Jack MacLaren, is a candidate in a neighbouring riding, currently represented by Mr. Norm Sterling, a duly-elected Member of Provincial Parliament.
Mr. Hillier is thus using Legislative Assembly funds to undermine and attack a Member of the Ontario Legislature in good standing.
Mr. Hillier has violated the Member’s Integrity Act and the parliamentary convention encompassed in it by allowing the use of his website for partisan political activity by Mr. MacLaren.
I request an inquiry under Section 31(1) of the Member’s Integrity Act and submit that Mr. Hillier’s violation of parliamentary convention be reprimanded under Section 34 (1)(b) of said Act.