By Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson says all her Progressive Conservative caucus members have complied with a requirement to get COVID-19 vaccines.
Earlier this month, Stefanson said any Tory not fully immunized by Dec. 15 — when new vaccine requirements take effect at the legislature — would be removed from caucus.
Her statement at the time mentioned Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler, who has been the only Tory to refuse to reveal his vaccination status. Schuler has been noticeably absent at some events where vaccines were required, such as the party’s recent leadership convention. He has taken part in legislature debates remotely.
Schuler has rejected interview requests on the topic and has issued prepared statements that say his personal health information is private. He did so again Tuesday.
“As stated in the house, no one in caucus is opposed to vaccinations; however, my personal health information is a private matter and I do not discuss my personal health information publicly,” the one-sentence statement read.
Stefanson said Tuesday all caucus members are in compliance with the vaccine requirement, although she wouldn’t discuss details of individuals.
“I have been assured that they have the ability to enter the building and those are the rules that are there to enter the building for our elected officials,” she said.
Starting Wednesday, all elected members of the legislature, their constituency assistants, public servants who work elsewhere, and visiting members of the public will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Public servants who work in the building and members of the media will have the option of showing a negative COVID-19 test result from within the previous 48 hours.
The Opposition New Democrats, who have said all their caucus members are fully vaccinated, said the Tories took a long time to get on board.
“The rest of Manitoba was lining up … to get the vaccine,” NDP Leader Wab Kinew said.
“The PC government apparently can’t be bothered until well over a year after the vaccines were available.”