OTTAWA – A Conservative MP says asking him to resubmit proof of his medical exemption from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine was a case of political overreach on the part of the Liberal government.
Saskatchewan MP Cathay Wagantall raised the issue Monday from the front seat of a car, as MPs can now virtually participate in the House of Commons following the adoption of a hybrid model.
But as part of the motion establishing the hybrid model, the government also insisted that any medical exemptions granted to parliamentarians from the vaccination mandate must meet federal and Ontario requirements. guidelines.
Wagantall said that was too far, as the House of Commons had already passed a policy before Parliament returned on November 22.
The rule that was decided then was that MPs had to show proof of being fully vaccinated or, if they had a “medical contraindication to full COVID-19 vaccination,” they could show proof of a recent negative test.
Now, she’s back to square one for her, she said after the hybrid motion was adopted on Nov. 26.
“My ability to have my personal physician properly process the required documents could not take place until the following week,” Wagantall said.
“The House of Commons nurse and HR needed time to consider my application in light of the government’s change to mandate.”
His office did not immediately respond to a question Monday about whether Wagantall appeared remotely in the House rather than in person because his waiver had not yet been approved or had been rejected.
A spokesman for President Anthony Rota’s office told the Star on Monday that the waivers are being reviewed and there have been no problems so far.
At least two other MPs are believed to have medical exemptions: Dean Allison of Niagara West and Colin Carrie of Oshawa.
Ontario’s medical director of health has said that only between one and five out of 100,000 people should qualify for a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination.
Liberals have noted that the exemption rate among Conservative MPs appears to be much higher than that, and called for exemptions claimed by any member to be validated.
Wagantall said he politicized the work of the House of Commons medical staff.
“It allows political interference in what should be the objective decision-making of the medical professionals who serve us as parliamentarians,” he said.
Wagantall is not the only Conservative who virtually participates in Parliament, even though the Conservative group opposed continuing the hybrid model that was introduced earlier in the pandemic.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole declined to say Monday whether Conservative members participating remotely had their immunization exemptions challenged.
Questions about whether they are doing so because of their vaccination status is up to them to answer, he said.
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