One of the challenges for Erin O’Toole, to stay as a Conservative leader, will be deciding whether her MPs must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the House of Commons.
Liberals and the Quebecois bloc have called for mandatory immunization, and it has been supported by the NDP, as parties prepare for the resumption of parliament after federal elections last month.
It’s unclear when the MPs will return, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced a vaccine mandate that will take effect on December 1 that will require air and rail passengers to be immunized in order to board.
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Included in that policy will be federal politicians who will travel to Ottawa from different parts of the country.
Conservative Whip and Alberta MP Blake Richards said negotiations to return to the House of Commons have not yet begun and that “we will continue to follow all public health guidelines and encourage all Canadians to get vaccinated.”
He added that “under no circumstances will conservatives support the virtual parliament,” and members will participate by videoconference. His office has yet to clarify whether it supports or opposes calls for parliamentarians to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
During the campaign, O’Toole opposed the liberal plan to make vaccination the rule for federal public servants, people who work in government-regulated industries, and domestic travelers.
O’Toole is silent on the status of the COVID-19 vaccine of the conservative candidates
But he was silent last week when a re-elected Trudeau unveiled the policy, and British Columbia MP Mark Strahl tweeted that the mandate is “discriminatory, coercive and must be opposed.”
“We must continue to require exemptions and reasonable accommodations, such as rapid tests, for those who are unable or unwilling to get vaccinated.”
O’Toole’s office has yet to provide an answer on whether the Conservative leader continues to oppose the federal mandate. He also did not respond when asked about his message to Tory MPs who may not be fully vaccinated, given that he did not make immunization a requirement for candidates during the campaign.
An analysis by The Canadian Press reveals that at least 77 of the 119 elected Conservative members say they are fully vaccinated.
Another 37 did not respond by the deadline, and spokespersons in the offices of British Columbia MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay and Ted Falk of Manitoba said they declined to comment on their vaccination status.
O’Toole still does not say how many conservative candidates received the COVID-19 vaccines
During a candidate debate last month, Leslyn Lewis, a former O’Toole leadership rival who has strong support from the party’s conservative social base, said she is “pro-vaccine” but does not share her personal status. with the audience.
A spokesman for Marc Dalton says the BC deputy is partially vaccinated and plans to receive a second injection.
Dean Allison, a longtime Ontario MP, is one of two members who say they can’t get a vaccine for medical reasons.
During the campaign, Allison said she stuck to rapid tests and had a doctor’s note, but “there really hasn’t been much conversation so far” about what she should do in the future.
“All the candidates had to support the leader’s message, that we were opposed to mandatory vaccinations,” he said, adding that he revealed his status to the whip’s office.
Recently elected Conservative MP Clifford Small said he is fully vaccinated and expects discussions on the new federal mandate “in the very near future.”
—With a file on Catherine Levesque
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