Derek Sloan and Randy Hillier were among more than 400 people at the Aylmer Church of God defying the province’s lockdown.
- By Anthony Murdoch
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AYLMER, Ontario, April 28, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Two prominent Canadian anti-lockdown politicians have vowed to fight any charges leveled against them as a result of attending a church service this past Sunday led by a pastor who has kept his place of worship open contrary to draconian COVID-19 health rules.
The service was held at the Church of God located in Aylmer, Ontario, by Pastor Henry Hildebrandt.
Independent MP Derek Sloan and Independent Ontario MPP Randy Hillier are facing charges – which could top out at $100,000 or even include jail time – because they attended what was one of the largest church services held in Ontario during COVID-19 restrictions. Hildebrandt welcomed Sloan and Hillier into his church, who both briefly spoke at the pulpit.
Sloan told LifeSiteNews that he has not seen a court summons yet, but that it appears he fits “the description of one of the charges.”
He vowed he would “fight” any charges leveled against him.
“The Aylmer police release says summons have been issued under the Reopening Ontario Act – which would mean any offence would be provincial and not criminal. I have not been notified of any tickets or charges personally – though I appear to fit the description of one of the charges,” Sloan said.
“I was at the event because the lockdowns are unconstitutional and cause far more harm than good. The government has been too afraid to actually follow through on fighting any of these tickets in court, for fear of the obvious – that they will be ruled unconstitutional. Therefore, I will appeal this ticket without any expectation of actually being convicted. Evidence is coming out in spades that lockdowns ‘are accomplishing little benefit, but colossal damage.’ For the first time in Canada’s history, we have an underground church, and I am frightened and appalled at that concept.”
Hillier said he is “confident” the courts “will nullify the law, if I’m ever allowed to go to court,” according to a CBC report, although he said he has yet to see a summons.
“I’ve indicated according to the courts that I will be challenging these charges under constitutional grounds and I’ve been vocal that we need to get these charges before a court of law as quickly as possible. That’s why I’ve gone out and engaged in civil disobedience, so that matter could be heard,” Hillier said.
Both Sloan and Hillier are to appear in an Elgin County provincial offences court in June, according to the CBC report. The Church of God was also charged for failing to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act, and if found guilty could face fines of up to $10 million.
According to a news release from the Aylmer Police Service, six individuals who attended the service were “identified and charged” with failing to “comply with a section 7.0.2 order contrary to s.10(1) of the Re-opening Act of Ontario.”
Two of these persons fit the age and place of residence of both Sloan and Hillier.
Hillier tweeted that “over 400 people attended” the illegal church service.
Over the course of the last few months, several members of the Church of God have received fines for defying local health orders. Hildebrandt’s son, Herbert, was charged with obstruction of justice in December.
At the Sunday service, Hildebrandt said he was “very ashamed of many, many pastors in this land,” for being “noodlebacks” in going along with COVID restrictions limiting church size.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford on April 16 introduced extended “stay at home orders” that placed a 10-person limit on church service attendance size, closed playgrounds, implemented provincial border checks, and gave police the power to stop anyone outside his or her home without cause.
After public backlash, the Ford government walked back some of its coronavirus rules less than a day later. Playgrounds were allowed to stay open, and police had to have “reason to suspect that you are participating in an organized public event or social gathering” in order to question people.