No new COVID-19 cases in conservative caucus after vaccinated MP fell ill

OTTAWA – No new cases of COVID-19 have emerged within the federal conservative group since one of its members was diagnosed with the virus last week.

Ottawa public health regulations say that a person’s high-risk contacts with COVID-19 should be tested at least seven days after exposure. Quebec MP Richard Lehoux last met with his colleagues a week ago for a two-day caucus retreat.

A spokesperson for Conservative leader Erin O’Toole told the Star on Friday afternoon that the tests were completed and no new cases were detected.

“All public health regulations were followed,” said Josie Sabatino.

The Lehoux case kept the spotlight on the question of how many Conservative MPs have been vaccinated against COVID-19, as Parliament resumed with the mandate that all MPs be fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption.

Lehoux was fully vaccinated, but conservatives have not confirmed whether that is the case for all of his caucus colleagues.

This week, liberals charged that the rarity of legitimate medical exemptions in the general population means that the “math doesn’t add up” for conservatives to have many, if any.

Conservatives called that argument hypocritical.

“At first, there was no problem with the waivers,” House Conservative Leader Gerard Deltell said during this week’s debate on moving the House of Commons to a hybrid format.

“Now that some conservatives have an exemption, that no longer works. Do I need to remind my colleagues that someone in the liberal government had an exemption at one point? “

The Liberal MP who had an exemption is now fully vaccinated, the government has said.

While some conservatives have raised questions about the science regarding COVID-19, most of the public objection has been to vaccination mandates, with conservatives arguing that they are an invasion of privacy.

On Friday, two Conservative MPs wrote to the privacy commissioner asking for more information about the Liberals’ decision to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for public service employees and travelers.

“We are concerned that there are significant privacy risks associated with these policies, including but not limited to the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information,” wrote Michael Cooper and Colin Carrie.

They want to know if a privacy impact assessment has been carried out on the new mandates and if the government has given the commissioner information about its “legal authority” to impose vaccine requirements.

Another Conservative MP is lobbying the government on the constitutionality of the policy.

Alberta MP Garnett Genuis has asked the government to provide information on whether it has received legal advice that such mandates comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as human rights laws and obligations.

The government must respond within 45 days.


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