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Ontario Hansard - 19-October2021

COVID-19 IMMUNIZATION


Mr. Rick Nicholls: My question is to the Premier. For the past seven weeks, I’ve been receiving phone calls, emails and letters from hundreds of distraught Ontarians who do not want to receive the experimental drugs—or vaccines, as some would call them. These people will be fired with cause from their jobs if they don’t get the jab. That means no severance or EI benefits—nothing. Families are desperate and in danger of losing not only their jobs, but their homes, their marriages. They can’t even watch their kids play hockey in an empty arena because they aren’t vaxed. Sound a bit crazy?

Vaccination must be about freedom of choice, and people must be respected for their choice. Workplaces were safe before. What changed yesterday to today?

Premier, respectfully, will you introduce legislation denouncing mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace? If you don’t, you will be creating a crisis in health care, EMS and firefighting, and shortages in both private and public sectors. You were for the people; now you have a chance to save the people.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): And to reply, the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

Hon. Monte McNaughton: I do want to thank the member opposite for that question. Before I answer, I want to say, on behalf of all of the people in our region and southwestern Ontario, thank you to the member for serving the residents of Chatham-Kent–Leamington for many, many years.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to remind the member opposite, and everyone out there, that vaccinations are available to those people who want them. In fact, we’re proud that more than 22 million vaccinations have been given out to date. That’s why, as a province, we’ve come so far together. In fact, more than 87% of people have had at least once dose and more than 83% have had a second dose.

We continue to urge employers and employees to work together. I know that locally in southwestern Ontario, the overwhelming majority of our residents have received a vaccination, and we do know because of the science that it is the best way to defeat COVID-19 once and for all.


The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): And the supplementary.

Mr. Rick Nicholls: Speaker, back to the Premier: You speak about safety, and you’ve spoken in the past about not wanting to implement vaccine passports, even after I was removed from caucus. We’ve talked about how these vax passes would cause two separate societies, causing people to reveal their confidential medical records to strangers. There’s nothing confidential about that, although now most people know of my status due to a leak from the Premier’s office, after I had told that individual specifically that my status is confidential.

You’ve stated that vax passes will only be temporary, despite the fact that PM Trudeau enticed provinces with $1 billion in total of taxpayer money to help offset the costs. He’s simply freewheeling. That’s not right, nor is it responsible.

To the Premier: What changed, causing you to reverse your decision to have vax passports?


Hon. Monte McNaughton: Again, Mr. Speaker, we’ve come so far together as a province. We don’t want to go back to the days of locking down businesses. That’s why we continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

We’re doing so well. I mean, the case count today was literally around a few hundred people, with less numbers in ICU and hospitalizations from this disease, so we encourage everyone: Get vaccinated. Get a shot.

We want to congratulate and thank all of those public health units that are working every single day to improve the lives and the health and the well-being of the people of Ontario. I do believe it’s a responsibility of every member of provincial Parliament to encourage people to follow the science and get vaccinated.

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