Why does Queen’s Park have weaker COVID-19 rules than gyms and restaurants, the opposition asks?

The protocols for the pandemic to enter Queen’s Park are getting tougher, but not tough enough according to opposition parties.

MPPs, political staff, journalists, and anyone entering the building will be required to show proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination or a “recent” rapid antigen test to further protect us all when the fall session begins on April 4. October, Speaker of the Legislature Ted Arnott ruled on a new directive Thursday.

That means independent unvaccinated MPPs, including Rick Nicholls, recently expelled from Prime Minister Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative caucus for refusing to receive two vaccinations, and Randy Hillier will have to undergo regular testing, as will PC MPP Christina Mitas, who has an undisclosed medical exemption.

Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said the policy falls short given that Ford’s vaccine passport system launched Wednesday requires customers to be fully vaccinated to enter high-risk and nonessential locations such as theaters. Only medical exemptions are allowed.

“Mandatory testing is not the same as mandatory vaccination,” Del Duca said. “People already need to get vaccinated to go to gyms, restaurants and so many other places. It is not enough that PPMs receive special treatment in the form of gap tests. “

New Democratic MP Peggy Sattler said on Twitter that the legislature “should lead by example.”

“Why would the government expect less from an MPP than it expects from someone who goes to the movies or goes out to dinner?”

Anyone entering the building must now pass seven evaluation questions and wear a mask.

Details on timelines and procedures for rapid antigen tests and who pays for them were not provided in the speaker’s directive.

“More detailed information on the new procedures will be made available shortly,” wrote Arnott, a progressive conservative MPP who runs the legislature’s daily question period and oversees the operation of the building.

After Liberals requested in August that Arnott exclude unvaccinated MPPs from the legislature, the speaker noted that it would be unlikely.

“In my opinion, imposing a vaccination mandate on MPPs would have the foreseeable effect of conflicting with MPPs’ rights to enter the compound to perform and fulfill their parliamentary duties and responsibilities,” Arnott said in a response. to the match.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath last month changed about mandatory vaccinations for healthcare and education workers, initially saying they would violate Charter rights, but later admitted she was “wrong … this unprecedented moment. requires unprecedented action. ”


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