'Insulted' by Randy Hillier's ouster, riding association calls for meeting with Ford

'Insulted' by Randy Hillier's ouster, riding association calls for meeting with Ford

The Ontario PC Party's Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston riding association has sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford, asking him to meet with more than 900 local members to reconsider his decision to boot MPP Randy Hillier from caucus.

"When Randy was removed, all of us were immediately insulted," said Nick Drakich, a member of the association's executive.

Drakich said they're calling for a meeting with the premier because many of the association's members are still reeling from the decision. 

"This is our representative, and to tell us that we can not have our representative who we all support in caucus ... not only does he alienate Randy but he alienates all the members of the party in Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston," he said.

When Randy was removed, all of us were immediately insulted. - Nick Drakich, Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston PC riding association

Drakich said the association and its legal counsel believe the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party constitution gives only the riding association the discretion to remove an MPP from the party.  

As far as the association is concerned, the ouster could be seen as a legal breach of that contract, he said.

'Doug being misinformed'

"We believe that once [Ford] gets the facts and knows what the truth is, he'll realize he was misled and the removal was totally inappropriate," said Drakich.

Hillier has been the riding's pick as PC candidate for more than a decade. He was initially suspended from caucus last month for allegedly saying "yada, yada, yada" to a parent of a child with autism after a tense question period at Queen's Park.

Hillier said his comments were directed at an opposition NDP MPP, not a parent. He was then ejected from the PC caucus a week ago.

Hillier told party members he was kicked out over long-standing tensions with two of Ford's senior advisers over what's expected of caucus members

In a statement Monday, Hillier added further details, stating he was expelled "for raising concerns of possible illegal and unregistered lobbying by close friends and advisors employed by Premier Ford."

Letter sent

About a dozen association executive members met in Perth, Ont., Tuesday to discuss the event. That's when they decided to craft a letter and send it by registered mail to invite the premier to meet with them. 

Drakich said Hillier attended that meeting.

"He was the one that said, 'Doug is a good guy. He's been misinformed, and the problem that we have is getting the truth to him, getting the proper information to him," explained Drakich.

The premier's office did not respond to CBC's request for an interview.