MP and MPP charged for attending service at Church of God in Aylmer, Ont.
LONDON, ONT. -- Independent MP Derek Sloan and independent MPP Randy Hillier are the latest to be charged under Ontario's Reopening Act, for attending a defiant church service in Aylmer, Ont. on Sunday.
Sloan, the MP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington, and Hillier, the MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, were among dozens of maskless parishioners who attended an indoor service at the Church of God Restoration.
In a YouTube video posted by the church, both Sloan and Hillier are called upon to give short speeches by Pastor Henry Hildebrandt.
“There is no foundation on which we can build than Jesus Christ our rock, our Lord and our saviour. God bless you and God bless Canada,” said Sloan in the video.
“It brings tears to ones eyes to see so many people,” Hillier added.
Police have not released the names of those charged, instead they have released their age, gender, and place of residence.
They include summons for a 36-year-old Stirling, Ont. man and a 63-year-old Perth, Ont. man, as of Monday evening. Sloan, 36, is from Stirling and Hillier, 63, from Perth.
The charges could result in fines up to $100,000 with a minimum fine of $10,000.
Hillier tells CTV News London, "I will continue to act as a free person in a free country regardless of what the government thinks...And I will welcome as many tickets as they want to give me.”
He added that he is concerned about the government regulations and how they are impacting citizens.
“There is no rational or reasonable assertion or argument for these measures that are targeted against churches...I think some people are very full of fear and the hysteria, and our government has amplified and encouraged people to rat on people.”
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Sloan said, "I have not been notified of any tickets or charges personally - though I appear to fit the description of one of the charges."
Citing a study on the ineffectiveness of lockdowns from Simon Fraser University, he added he was at the event because he believes lockdowns are unconstitutional and do 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.' I agree.”
Additional charges were laid against a 60-year-old man from Pelham, Ont., a 38-year-old woman from London, Ont., a 57-year-old man from Aylmer and a 26-year-old man also from Aylmer.
On Sunday dozens of people were inside the church without masks and without social distancing. Roughly 200 cars were seen in the parking lot.
Kristen Nagle was also in attendance. She was terminated with cause from working as a neonatal nurse back in November for organizing and attending anti-lockdown protests in Canada and America.
A 52-year-old woman from Shakespeare turned herself into police on Monday after a warrant was issued for obstructing police in a incident following the service.
A 20-year-old from Perth East Township was also charged with obstructing police and a 58-year-old male from Perth East Township was charged with assault after he allegedly aggressively charged at a reporter.
None of the charges have been proven in court. The six people charged under the Reopening Ontario Act are scheduled to appear in court in June.
- With files from CTV News London's Sean Irvine and Justin Zadorsky.