Manitoba Daily

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Manitoba MLA calls the decision to keep vaccination status private a “fundamental liberty”

The decision to keep one's vaccination status private

Key takeaways:

  • A Manitoba cabinet minister claims that keeping his vaccination status private is a civil liberty that must be secured.

A cabinet minister in Manitoba says his decision to keep his vaccination status private is a civil liberty that must be protected.

Even though Ron Schuler believes vaccines have “amazing benefits,” he has not joined his government and health officials in urging everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine if possible.

For months, the infrastructure minister has avoided questions about his vaccination record by referring to it as “private health information.”

Schuler spoke out on Thursday in support of those who, he claims, feel compelled to reveal whether or not they’ve been vaccinated.

“I am a firm believer in defense of civil liberties. I believe it is our right to make our own healthcare decisions — it is a fundamental liberty, in my opinion. “He stated this during an unrelated news conference.

Also read: Over 200 COVID-19 cases are reported in Manitoba, the highest single-day total since June

“It is also our right to keep our healthcare decisions a secret. No one should be forced to make a health reason or public decision or feel obligated to publicly defend their decision. Those, I believe, are liberties “Schuler, went on.

“As a result, my personal health information is kept private, and I do not discuss my health in public.”

Schuler is likely vaccinated, as all MLAs entering Manitoba’s legislature had to be fully vaccinated as of Wednesday. The legislative building hosted a news conference on drought conditions on Thursday.

Premier Heather Stefanson has stated that any Progressive Conservative MLA who is not fully vaccinated will be expelled from caucus.

“This just becomes another nice building,” Schuler said if the province’s seat of power does not stand for civil liberties. It has no significance.”

He advised anyone unsure about the need for vaccination to speak with their doctor so that they can make an “informed decision.” Still, he failed to mention that medical professionals are overwhelmingly in favor of vaccination for everyone eligible, with only a few exceptions.

‘I’m not an anti-vaxxer,’ 

Throughout the pandemic, many people have approached Schuler for advice on whether or not to get vaccinated, he said.

“People on both sides have pushed, bullied, and cajoled them,” he said.

“They call me in tears and ask what they should do, and my advice is to go to your family doctor, a healthcare provider, and seek medical advice,” she says.

“I have ‘minister’ in my name. not ‘doctor.'”

Schuler, on the other hand, did not advocate for COVID-19 vaccination.

He was asked twice if he agreed with Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin and other officials urging people to get vaccines.

Schuler said each time that it is up to the individual.

“Vaccinations, in my opinion, have done wonders for our modern society, and I am not an anti-vaxxer. Vaccinations are something I believe in, “he stated

On the other hand, vaccination is “a personal decision,” he said.

“Whatever decision you make, you should make it without being bullied, cajoled, or under pressure. You should make your own healthcare decisions, and those decisions should be kept private.”

Schuler is part of a Progressive Conservative government that has spent the past year urging people to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of Manitobans, shut down businesses, and drained the healthcare system.

Many businesses and events in the province, ranging from restaurants to sporting events, now require proof of vaccination.

Manitoba MLA calls choice to keep vaccination status personal a "fundamental liberty."
Manitoba MLA calls choice to keep vaccination status personal a “fundamental liberty.” Image from Google

“It’s really important that we lead by example,” the premier said earlier this month when explaining her rationale for implementing a vaccine mandate at the legislature.

Her government marked the first anniversary of its public vaccination campaign on Thursday morning.

According to Christopher Adams, an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Manitoba, Schuler is treading a fine line between what he may believe about COVID-19 vaccinations, which are supported by some in his rural constituency, and the views of the premier.

However, Adams points out that Schuler isn’t discouraging people from getting vaccinated, demonstrating that he isn’t impeding the province’s efforts.

Dougald Lamont, the Liberal Leader, was less forgiving, calling Schuler’s position “unacceptable.” In a statement, Lamont said that the minister is “more concerned about his feelings than about setting an example that could save lives.”

The Progressive Conservative caucus said it knew 34 of its 35 sitting MLAs had been vaccinated until recently. Still, it wouldn’t say if the remaining elected official had been vaccinated or if they had disclosed their status.

Based on the process of elimination, that person appears to be Schuler. He was the only Tory MLA who refused to say whether or not he had been vaccinated.

After it was reported in November that a staff member in Schuler’s constituency office died of COVID-19, the opposition NDP demanded Schuler’s removal from the cabinet.

According to the parties, all of the NDP’s and Liberals’ MLAs have been fully vaccinated for months.

Source: CBC News

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