MPP Randy Hillier suspended from Ontario PC caucus after autism debate

Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Randy Hillier has been suspended indefinitely from the Ontario PC caucus after making "disrespectful comments to parents of children with autism," Leader Doug Ford said Wednesday.

Suspension follows comments MPP made Wednesday after question period

Randy Hillier, MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, speaks with reporters at Queen's Park on Wednesday following his suspension. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Randy Hillier has been suspended indefinitely from his party's caucus after making "disrespectful comments to parents of children with autism," according to a statement from Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford.

Hillier, who represents Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston, reportedly said, "Yada, yada, yada" to parents attending the session as he exited the legislature. The comments came after a question period dominated by discussion on autism.

In a scrum with reporters on Wednesday, Hillier said his comments were directed at New Democratic Party MPP Monique Taylor.

"It was clearly directed singularly and directly at Monique Taylor," he said. "I have never engaged in and it would be a rare occurrence where people would heckle spectators in the gallery."

Hillier said he doesn't know what will happen next, but he is confident this issue can be resolved.   

"I am not actually aware of what a suspension actually entails, but I trust that the premier and myself will have a conversation." 

Taylor said the government's attitude to the parents of autistic children has been generally dismissive and that should be the focus. 

"The families were hurt by the dismissive and cruel nature of Randy Hillier's heckle, whoever it was directed at, but families are far more hurt by Mr. Ford's decision to cut their children's services," she said in a statement. "We can't allow the conduct of the Conservatives to distract from the fact that these families need and deserve autism services for their children."

Dozens of parents were at Queen's Park to voice concerns about a new autism program that they say provides inadequate funding for their kids to get the treatment they need.

with files from The Canadian Press