Canada

MPP Randy Hillier back on Twitter; account suspended after he posted COVID-19 misinformation

The Independent MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston known for his anti-lockdown, anti-mask messaging posted that Twitter had suspended his account, calling it a “timeout.”

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Ontario MPP Randy Hillier is back on Twitter after his account was temporarily suspended on the weekend after he posted false information about COVID-19.

The Independent MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston known for his anti-lockdown, anti-mask messaging posted that Twitter had suspended his account, calling it a “timeout.”

No posts appeared on his account for about 24 hours between Saturday and Sunday morning.

“’I’m Back! Thanks for all the support,” Hillier posted Sunday morning. “The trolls and bots got a workout yesterday reporting me. To appease the unruly mob Twitter put me in time out. I’m recharged and ready for more.”

One of the people who had flagged Hillier’s tweets to Twitter was University of Toronto epidemiologist David Fisman, a member of the province’s COVID-19 science advisory table.

Fisman posted a copy of a tweet that Hillier posted Feb. 25, which falsely said that “there is no pandemic & never was, we were duped.”

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It’s not clear if that was the tweet that prompted the suspension of Hillier’s account, but the posting no longer appears on his feed. There is a notation for Feb. 25 saying “this tweet is no longer available because it violated the twitter rules.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed 6,986 people in Ontario and 21,994 across Canada.

In other tweets over the past few days, Hillier has encouraged people to “shame” those who wear a mask, boycott stores that “lie” and called COVID-19 lockdowns “bulls–t.”

Monday morning, Fisman again asked Twitter to remove Hillier’s “hateful, damaging, malicious disinformation” from the social media platform. That was in reference to a Hillier tweet attacking Public Health Ontario for “perversion” and attacks on children.

Over the past few days, Hillier has been tweeting that public health officials were perpetrating “child abuse” and “torment and torture” with their self-isolation guidelines for children.

At issue was a pamphlet by Peel Public Health that explained children sent home from school because they had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should “stay in a separate room, eat in a separate room apart from others, use a separate bathroom if possible.”

The pamphlet said, “If the child must leave their room, they should wear a mask and stay 2 metres apart from others,” according to a column about it in the Toronto Sun.

Monday morning, the region of Peel posted on Twitter that a mistake had been made in the pamphlet. It left out an important detail: that a caregiver can isolate with a child to “help with daily living, such as bathing, feeding, clothing and emotional support.”

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That advice is on the Peel website, but not the flyer, which will be amended, said the tweet from the region of Peel.

“No surprise that it would upset and confuse people. We’re fixing it right now.”

The advice about self-isolation for children has been in place since schools reopened in September.


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