End of August 2021
MPP shown door for vax “choice”
Says he took Ford “at his word” on issue
Premier Doug Ford has evicted an MPP from the Ontario PC caucus for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
MPP Rick Nicholls, now an Independent representative for Chatham-Kent Leamington, said he got a phone call from a member of Ford’s re-election campaign who warned him “in a demeaning tone” that he would be booted unless vaccinated last Thursday by 5:00 p.m.
Nicholls, who had been serving as deputy speaker, said he and his wife Diane made a personal decision to remain unvaccinated.
“I took the premier at his word that vaccination is a choice and that all Ontarians have a constitutional right to make such a choice,” Nicholls said an hour before the 5 p.m. deadline.
Like almost two million eligible Ontarians, I choose to exercise this autonomy over my own body, while continuing to work hard for the people of Ontario.
In a statement later that day, Ford confirmed Nicholls was one of two unvaccinated PC MPP’s.
“MPP Rick Nicholls has failed to provide a legitimate reason for exemption from vaccination. As a consequence, he is no longer a sitting member of the PC caucus and will not be permitted to seek re-election as a PC candidate,” the statement said.
“MPP Christina Mitas will remain in caucus as she has provided a statement of medical exemption signed by a physician and made assurances she will take additional precautions while carrying out her duties as an elected representative.”
Ford said he has repeatedly urged Ontarians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and elected officials should lead by example.
Politicians also interact daily with members of the public, he said.
“It is my expectation that every PC caucus member and candidate not only support the role vaccines play in the fight against COVID-19, but also be vaccinated to protect themselves and the people in their community,” he said.
Public health officials have repeatedly warned about the danger of a fourth wave propelled by the more contagious delta variant and offered COVID-19 vaccines as a safe means to prevent serious illness and death.
The premier has refused to mandate vaccines, but has ordered many high-risk institutions like nursing homes and hospitals to put in place a policy that requires either inoculation, a medical or religious exemption or the undertaking of an education session.
The unvaccinated must also undergo regular testing.
The Ontario Public Service will now be subject to the same requirements.
Nicholls said he has privately voiced concerns with Ford about the mental, health and economic toll of the government’s pandemic response and watched as members of his own family lost their entire livelihood.
“Under no circumstances will I nor should any Ontarian be forced or coerced to do something against their will,” Nicholls said.
“To do this is an affront to the democratic principles of this magnificent institution.”
The man has a point but not when it comes to the health and well-being of others!
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