Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Canada's Conservatives stick in a vaccine snafu of their own making

Canada's MPs headed back to Ottawa yesterday for an old-style in-person debate session, after an unconscionable long time out in t he wilderness (the election was way back on September 20th, and the Liberals dissolved Parliament over a month earlier, on August 15th). 

Parliament is due to recess again for Chrismas on December 15th, so they have all of 4 weeks to get a lot done. But all anybody could talk about yesterday was the Conservatives' vaccination status. With a new Liberal minority government in power, you'd expect the official opposition Conservatives to come out swing aggressively. But instead they were very much on the defensive over the issue of the parliamentary vaccine mandate.

You see, nobody knows which of the Conservative caucus members are vaccinated. Every other party has been quite transparent in disclosing that all their members are fully vaccinated (one Liberal MP who did qualify for an exemption got vaccinated anyway). The Conservatives have not done so, and leader Erin O'Toole and deputy House leader Michael Barrett claim not to know who might be vaccinated and who might have an exemption, and apparently they don't really care.

It is thought that multiple Conservative MPs are not vaccinated and have somehow obtained exemptions, even though statistically only 1 in 100,000 might typically be expected to qualify for a medical exemption. But we just don't know. What a weird situation. The Conssrvatives are the only party in Parliament that opposes the vaccine mandate for parliamentarians.

In the meantime, the Liberals and other parties can take the moral high ground, and the Tories are left with egg on their faces and are even more inept and ineffectual than usual.

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