By Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — One person running to become Manitoba’s next premier said Friday she opposes COVID-19 vaccine mandates for frontline workers.
Shelly Glover also said that if elected leader of the governing Progressive Conservatives, she would review how the government decided to require people to be vaccinated to enter restaurants, theatres, sports arenas and other venues.
“I was not at the table (when the decision was made). I’d like to be at that table to come to a decision as to whether or not that was an appropriate action to take,” Glover said.
The former Winnipeg police officer and Conservative member of Parliament is one of at least three people planning to seek the provincial Tory leadership, following the resignation of Brian Pallister. The race will be decided Oct. 30 by mail-in ballot and the deadline to enter is Wednesday.
The Tory government recently enacted requirements for health-care staff, teachers and others who work with children and vulnerable people to be fully vaccinated or be tested up to three times per week.
Glover, who became a health-care aide in a personal care home during the COVID-19 pandemic’s second wave, said some workers don’t want the vaccine and are afraid of losing their jobs.
“I just cannot go and tell a nurse or a health-care aide that worked all that time, saving all of us, that they have to go home and they can’t work anymore.”
Glover said she believes in the vaccine and is fully vaccinated herself, and that people should follow all current public health orders. But she said it’s divisive to make people feel forced to get vaccinated, whether to go to work or to attend a concert or pro football game.
“If we mandate people to be vaccinated, we’re actually telling them that they have to put something in their bodies that they may be afraid of, that their own doctors may have told them might harm them.”
Glover said people with autoimmune diseases are one example.
Other declared leadership hopefuls include two Tory caucus members — former health minister Heather Stefanson and backbencher Shannon Martin. Martin said he stands firmly with the province’s public health officials.
“They have told us a vaccine passport is needed to curb the current wave and protect Manitoba’s hospital and critical care capacities,” Martin said in a statement.
“They have my full support as we navigate back-to-school and the challenges it brings.”
Glover said she met all of the party’s entry requirements, which include submitting 1,000 new or renewed memberships and a $25,000 fee. The party said all submitted materials are reviewed, and there were no official candidates as of Friday afternoon.