There is a well-quoted line, often attributed to the late British prime minister Harold Macmillan.

The story, though disputed, is that Macmillan was asked what is most likely to blow governments off course.

“Events, dear boy, events,” he reportedly said.

Well what is true of governments is also true of individual politicians.

This week there was an event, an ill-thought-out email to supporters, that has likely blown one member of Ontario’s legislature well off course.

I’m speaking of Randy Hillier.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Hillier’s “suspension” from the PC caucus that was not a suspension. In my column, I advocated for Hillier to be allowed back into the PC caucus, saying that it was in the best interests of Hillier and the party.

I laid out both sides of the story, as told to me by those who supported Hillier and those who wanted him out. Those who felt the party was going too far and those who felt they were not going far enough.

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Then came events.

On Tuesday, Hillier sent an email to supporters stating his side of the story in a way that would generously be called unvarnished.

Was it the unvarnished truth?

I’m sure Hillier would say yes and those who he called out would say no.

Hillier said the problems he was facing were embodied in two men, Premier Doug Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French, and former campaign staffer and lobbyist Chris Froggatt.


Dean French, rear, chief of staff to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, stands at a door in the chamber as PC MPP Will Bouma occupies the seat in the legislature formerly occupied by Amanda Simard, in Toronto on November 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

He chastised both men and referred to concerns raised by them, and fellow caucus members, as “trivial and childish expectations.”

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That won’t help you win friends or influence people, not in a positive way, anyway.

Now full disclosure, I’ve known both Hillier and Froggatt professionally for at least the last 15 years. I’m on good terms with both men.

French is someone I’ve never met.

It’s weird to watch two people who you have known for a long time, who fought for the same goal together for so long, do battle in public.

That is what is happening here.

Until Tuesday there was a chance that Hillier would be allowed back into caucus. Now, there is next to no chance.

By airing his dirty laundry in public, by naming the premier’s top advisers in a letter to supporters and calling them out as the problem, Hillier has damaged himself with the PC caucus.

If a vote had been held two weeks ago, caucus may have decided to keep Hillier in the tent. Now, it is unlikely he would survive a vote.

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Not that one is needed at the PC caucus at Queen’s Park. Apparently the leader gets to decide who sits in caucus and as one senior cabinet minister said at the most recent caucus meeting, “Caucus is not a democracy.”

That’s the opposite of the federal Conservative Party, where caucus does have a say in such matters.

Maybe French and Froggatt do have too much say over caucus issues, I don’t know, I’m not in the caucus, but when it comes to Hillier, that doesn’t matter anymore.

He was never “suspended” for saying “yada, yada, yada” during a debate on autism funding, he was suspended for not being a team player.

Hillier and his supporters disputed that and could make the case that he was in fact part of the team.

It’s hard to argue that when you are shooting at your teammates.

If Hillier isn’t allowed back into the PC caucus, he now only has one person to blame: Himself.

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LILLEY: Hillier takes aim at himself and own PC team

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