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Randy Hillier shares family's harrowing tale of domestic violence, urges tougher laws

MPP Randy Hillier thinks proposed legislation to strengthen laws against sexual violence doesn't go far enough, and he's sharing his own family's story with the hope it will inspire more change.

'We need to do better. We need to do much better,' Randy Hillier tells Ontario legislature

MPP Randy Hillier, seen here in 2009, is calling on the provincial Liberal government to do more to combat domestic violence. (The Canadian Press)

Ontario PC MPP Randy Hillier says proposed legislation to strengthen laws against sexual violence doesn't go far enough, and he's sharing his own family's story with the hope it will inspire tougher legislation.

During members' statements at Queen's Park on Monday, Hillier said that in October 2015 his daughter and her children had moved back home to escape a partner who had assaulted her.

Just days after the assault, the man showed up at Hillier's house armed "and attempted to burn it down," he said.

The man had already been charged, was ordered to adhere to release conditions, and was under a restraining order, Hillier said.

Conditions 'only a piece of paper'

"But conditions are only a piece of paper, Speaker. They are not very effective," said Hillier, who represents the riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington, just west of Ottawa.

"That night, I don't know how long it took the OPP to get to my place. It felt like an eternity as I fought off an individual who was pouring diesel [fuel] into my house and smashing doors and windows, armed."

The partner faced a total of 16 charges after the October incident, four of which carried a maximum sentence of life in prison, Hillier told the legislature.

In the end, he was convicted and sentenced to a year after a joint submission by the Crown and the defence. He was scheduled to have a parole hearing Tuesday.

'Many failings in our system'

"We've met with all the agencies, all the police enforcement, the Crown, to find ways to help my family ... not to live in fear. But if he's not out tomorrow, he'll be out soon from now," Hillier said.

"There are many failings in our system, Speaker; many, many failings. And this bill does little to address those failings."

Hillier is a member of the select committee on sexual violence and harassment, which presented its final report to the Legislature in December. He said he's anticipating working on the government's proposed Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act.

"I'm looking forward for this bill to come to committee, and I am looking forward — and I'm going to expect — that we make it better. Much better," he said.