Premier Heather Stefanson said the legislature may soon require everyone who enters the building to provide proof of vaccination, even as a member of her cabinet refuses to reveal whether he has been immunized against COVID-19.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/11/2021 (189 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Free Press

For Manitoba. For 150 years.
Forever with your support.

Anniversary special: 150 days for $1.50

Premier Heather Stefanson said the legislature may soon require everyone who enters the building to provide proof of vaccination, even as a member of her cabinet refuses to reveal whether he has been immunized against COVID-19.

"We’re considering that," said Stefanson, who hinted it may be announced in time for Tuesday’s throne speech and would set the tone for a new legislative session.

Proof of vaccination became mandatory at Winnipeg City Hall on Monday and will be required to enter the House of Commons on Nov. 22.

At her first news conference since being sworn in as premier on Nov. 2, Stefanson said Wednesday that "vaccines are the way out of this pandemic." When asked why she hasn’t required her caucus to be fully vaccinated, Stefanson said she’s meeting individually with members of her caucus and cabinet and having that discussion.

Only two members of the legislative assembly haven’t publicly disclosed their vaccination status; both of them are Progressive Conservatives: Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler and Seine River MLA Janice Morley-Lecomte.

The house leaders earlier had agreed that all MLAs in the chamber will be fully vaccinated but there was no formal policy requiring everyone in attendance at the chamber to be fully vaccinated. Before the last session ended on Oct. 14, Morley-Lecomte and Schuler took part in question period remotely but could attend meetings outside the chamber in person.

Schuler did not respond Wednesday when asked what he planned to do as a cabinet member if being vaccinated for COVID-19 becomes mandatory to enter the legislature.

Morley-Lecomte has refused to say whether or not she’s vaccinated, but did attend the PC leadership election event on Oct. 30, where proof of vaccination was required.

Stefanson said Wednesday she’s working on the throne speech and having discussions with Speaker Myrna Driedger, who is in charge of the chamber and committee rooms, on how they can open up the chamber to allow guests to attend the throne speech.

Requiring proof of vaccination for anyone who enters the building — not just the chamber — may be announced in Tuesday’s throne speech, the premier said. "These are things that are definitely on the table."

Either way, it will be a historic event, with a female premier, a woman in the Speaker’s chair (Myrna Driedger) and a woman representing the Crown (Lt-Gov. Janice Filmon).

"It’s not as exciting as a Jets game or a football game, but it’s still going to be exciting," Stefanson said.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.