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Randy Hillier argues with police at a protest against government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Peterborough, Ont., on April 24, 2021.Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press

Ontario is no longer pursuing charges against a former member of parliament and a former member of provincial parliament for attending COVID-19 restriction protests.

Derek Sloan and Randy Hillier as well as two other people were charged with violating public health orders in June 2021.

The Ministry of the Attorney General says the Crown has now stayed those charges, which means the case is essentially dropped but the Crown can reactivate it within a year.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which retained a lawyer to fight the case, says the men were charged for demonstrating in Norfolk, Ont., where about 200 to 300 people had gathered to protest COVID-19 public health measures.

Rules in place at the time sharply restricted outdoor gatherings.

The Justice Centre says it is pleased the Crown won’t be pursuing the charges any more because “peaceful demonstration is an essential pillar of democratic society.”