Aug 19, 2021

By Christine Ross

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One of the two unvaccinated Ontario MPP’s threatened with expulsion from the Tory caucus, spoke out in advance of Thursday’s 5 p.m. deadline to get immunized.

“I took the Premier at his word, that vaccination is a choice.”

Deputy Speaker Rick Nicholls, the MPP for Chatham-Kent, says he’s now waiting to see what happens for refusing to get the shots for personal reasons.

“Under no circumstances will I nor should any Ontarian be forced or coerced to do something against their will,” Nicholls told reporters. “To do so is an affront to the democratic principles of this magnificent institution.”

Calling the vaccine an ‘unproven experimental drug’  Nicholls explained his personal reasons for not getting the shots, saying the effectiveness wears off after a few months and that vaccinated people can spread the virus as easily as unvaccinated.

If expelled, Nicholls says he’ll continue to serve Chatham-Kent—Leamington as an independent.

He and another MPP had until 5 p.m. Thursday evening to get vaccinated, or get ejected from caucus.

The other MPP Christina Mitas of Scarborough has obtained a medical exemption with a doctors note and will remain in caucus.

Meantime, late Thursday afternoon, it was announced that all Ontario public servants must be vaccinated or undergo regular testing. The new policy will come into sometime this fall.

Statement from Premier Doug Ford

“Over the past year, I have repeatedly stood in front of Ontarians and urged them to get vaccinated as soon as they become eligible. The people of this province have responded to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 by making sacrifices to keep our families, our communities, ourselves and others safe. That especially includes our frontline health care workers, first responders, essential workers, small business owners, seniors, students, and the many, many others who have faced extraordinary measures over the last 16 months.

It also includes our elected officials, who we all expect to lead by example, and who must rightfully be held to a higher standard. The very nature of their work requires political leaders to interact daily with members of the public, including those most vulnerable to COVID-19. 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.

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.

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.

I’m once again asking every single eligible Ontarian who has not yet received a vaccine to please get vaccinated now. Vaccines are safe, they are effective, and they continue to be our best defence against COVID-19.”

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