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OTTAWA – Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole faces her caucus today to discuss what to do about her stance on mandatory vaccinations, and what that means for unvaccinated members.

The issue is a priority because an all-party committee ruled last week that MPs will need to be doubly vaccinated against COVID-19 or be granted a medical exemption to sit in the House of Commons.

This puts O’Toole in a difficult position as he refuses to reveal how many of his 118 members are fully vaccinated while he also opposes any return to a hybrid parliament.

Members of his own caucus have a different take on the issue and what the Conservatives should do next.

Alberta MP Ron Liepert says he has no problem telling people he is double vaccinated and thinks the problem has become a distraction.

“We don’t have the luxury of sitting here as an opposition party to discuss whether or not you need to be vaccinated,” he said before entering Wednesday’s meeting.

“We should do what the voters sent us here to do, which is to hold this Liberal government to account. “

British Columbia MP Mark Strahl said the Conservatives need to be clear as they were during the election campaign when they opposed vaccination warrants and said those who are not vaccinated should have the ability to take rapid tests.

“I think we need to be very clear that we are still opposed to Justin Trudeau’s tenure without reasonable accommodation for people who cannot be vaccinated. This needs to be very clear in everything we say,” said Strahl, adding that he has voters who risk losing their jobs because of such policies.

Trudeau said people with legitimate medical reasons for not being vaccinated will be exempt from vaccination warrants for federally regulated workers and air and rail travelers.

Alberta MP Glen Motz said Wednesday he did not think it should be the party leader to release personal health information. Analysis from The Canadian Press shows at least 80 Conservative MPs claim to have been vaccinated against COVID-19, two claiming they cannot for medical reasons.

Among the Conservatives who believe in the confidentiality of their vaccination status is new Ontario representative and former leadership contestant Leslyn Lewis.

Lewis has been a vocal critic of vaccination warrants and last week he also posted on social media about vaccinating children against COVID-19.

She said parents questioned the fact in part because the injections did not ensure transmission of the virus.

Public health experts say there is overwhelming evidence that vaccinations prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.

“The media and the power structure expect me to sit in the back of the bus. I will not do it ! Lewis, who is black, tweeted after her post about vaccinating children against COVID-19.

“They will try to portray me as a reckless madman in order to lynch me in silence. I will always speak the truth to Canadians, (and) no tyrants or threats will succeed against us!”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 27, 2021.

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