‘Statistically improbable’ multiple Tory MPs have valid COVID vaccine exemptions: Holland

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Government House leader Mark Holland said on Monday that it is statistically improbable that many conservative members of parliament have valid medical reasons for not being vaccinated against COVID-19.

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All lawmakers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to sit in person in the House of Commons, the Internal Economy Board ruled last month, unless they have a valid medical exemption. Which has been shown to the house administration.

Holland told reporters, referring to a chair in the room, “there is some possibility” that many Conservative members are medically exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination, “a possibility that the chair could blow up.” “

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“We have to be realistic here.”

A medically exempted non-vaccinated MP may enter the House of Commons with a recent negative COVID-19 test.

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The process the House of Commons is using to verify the validity of those medical exemptions is unclear. Still, Holland said he has doubts about the possibility that many Conservative lawmakers are actually medically exempt from vaccination.

Granthshala News has contacted the speaker’s office to ask about the standards for proving a medical exemption, as well as what conditions are valid as a medical exemption. A spokesperson for the office had promised to provide more details, but had not by the time of publication.

As a result, the number of Conservative MPs claiming the exemption is also unclear.

“From the Chief Medical Officers of Health, your chances of getting a medical exemption from vaccination are one to five in 100,000. The Conservative caucus is 119 people,” Holland said.

“Statistically, the likelihood that they will have many people exempt on that basis is exceptionally low.”

In a letter sent in early November, obtained by Granthshala News, lawmakers and staff with medical exemptions for a COVID-19 vaccine were asked to contact members’ human resources services. The letter was signed at Arms by House of Commons Sgt.

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The House administration is the body seeking medical exemptions from lawmakers, Holland said, but the process for verifying them has not yet been clarified.

“The same procedure applies to all MPs, staff and members of the Press Gallery. You show proof of vaccination,” Heather Bradley, a spokeswoman for the speaker’s office, said in an emailed statement.

He said all MPs have shared “what is required” so that they can reach Parliament House.

“We don’t expect any issues,” she said.

However, speaking on Monday, Holland said the House of Commons still needed “some way to verify” the validity of any reason for a medical exemption. He suggested that the House unanimously agree on terms that “are valid reasons for medical exemption.”

“Then we just have to agree that any letter that comes from any member asking for a medical exemption, the doctor will certify that it is …. one of those (exemptions) that is actually valid,” Holland said. he said.

It is not clear how many MPs have not been vaccinated, but all NDP, Bloc Québécois and Green MPs have been fully vaccinated, according to their respective parties. Initially, a Liberal MP had a medical exemption, but that person has since been fully vaccinated, meaning the entire Liberal caucus has also been vaccinated against the virus.

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Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, on the other hand, has never explicitly stated how many of her lawmakers are without vaccinations.

Late last month, sources told Granthshala News that a “handful” of Conservatives remained unconvinced – with current perception putting the number between three and five lawmakers who remain vulnerable against COVID-19.

Speaking to Mercedes Stephenson of The West Block on Sunday, O’Toole confirmed that all Conservative lawmakers “will be vaccinated or have a medical exemption” by Monday.

“We have said for several months, Mercedes, that when we return to parliament, and that is coming now this week, we will be ready to serve,” O’Toole said.

“All MPs will be vaccinated, or they will have medical exemption, following the rules, as we have always tried to follow the rules from the beginning of the pandemic.”

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Speaking on Monday, Hollande said it is “important” for him to know the exact number of conservatives living in the Conservatives.

“It is important to know what assurances the Conservative Party can give us that these individuals have valid medical exemptions,” he said.

“It’s important for people to feel safe here, and it’s disappointing to me that they won’t provide that information.”

—Granthshala News with files from ‘Alex Boutillier’

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