By John-Henry Westen

Randy HillierTORONTO, March 31, 2009 ( – In what is being welcomed by some as a startling revitalization of social conservatism in Ontario politics, Randy Hillier has announced his run for leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario on a conservative platform that includes protecting conscience rights and abolishing the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Hillier, MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington, announced his run at a media conference yesterday outlining three main policy planks:

– The introduction of the Freedom of Association and Conscience Act, an act to protect the rights of the individual to not be compelled or coerced into actions or associations they find objectionable;
– A commitment to replace the Ontario Human Rights Commission and other quasi-tribunals with real judges in real courts; and
– The introduction of legislation to allow for Senate elections in Ontario, modeled on similar initiatives that have been developed and introduced in other provinces, such as Saskatchewan.

Hillier noted that his campaign will be driven by ideas and ideals, while being anchored by the three central principles of Freedom, Justice and Democracy. Hillier also revealed that he will be running under the banner of “A Conservative Leader for a Conservative Party.”

“I’m asking Ontarians to support my candidacy because I have the courage to offer a truly conservative vision,” Hillier said. “As a father of four who loves this province and cares deeply for its future, I believe each and every one of us owes it to our children to take a stand for what’s right.”

Information on the leadership contender’s campaign website explains the motivation behind the proposed conscience legislation.  “As a principle of freedom, Ontarians deserve legislation protecting them from violating their conscience when providing their professional services,” explains the site. 

“Since the legalization of gay marriage in Canada, marriage commissioners have been under increasing pressure to perform gay marriages which, in some cases, violate their ethical or religious principles. For example, in 2008 the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal fined a provincial marriage commissioner $2,500 for refusing to perform a gay marriage, even though he referred the couple to another commissioner who was able to perform the ceremony according to their original schedule.

“Likewise, healthcare professionals in Ontario are being discriminated in being forced to perform or refer medical services against their consciences.

“A Randy Hillier government will make sure that healthcare professionals and marriage commissioners will be protected with legislation that will recognize and respect their freedom of conscience.”

With regard to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Hillier’s website explains:

“The Commission has consistently shown that it is concerned not with actual human rights such as freedom of speech, association or religion; rather the opposite. Judgments made by the Commission, including recent comments on opinion pieces published in the media, show an inherent bias against freedom and towards entrenching the special interests of certain groups based upon its own limited view point that everyone is a victim.

“As Premier, Randy Hillier will introduce legislation to place violations of Human Rights in REAL courts where civil rights and due process are not ignored. Human Rights Commissions will become redundant and will be eliminated.

Hillier’s views on abortion, other life issues and marriage are not yet known, although he brands himself as a “libertarian with a strong moral conscience.”

Other contenders for the leadership include Frank Klees, Masood Khan, with Tim Hudak and Christine Elliot expected to enter the race in the coming days.  Deadline for registration for the Party in order to be able to vote in the leadership is May 14.  A new leader is to be announced June 27, 2009.

Visit Randy Hillier’s website at: 

See full text of Hillier speech announcing his leadership bid:


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