Manitoba premier calls for a fully vaccinated caucus by Dec. 15 as criticism mounts against 1 MLA

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson is insisting all of her MLAs be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in time for an upcoming vaccination mandate in the legislative building, her office confirms.

“Premier Stefanson expects all members of cabinet and caucus to be fully vaccinated in time for new requirements for access to the Manitoba Legislative Building,” which will restrict access to only the fully vaccinated beginning on Dec. 15, the premier’s spokesperson said in an email.

“This includes the minister of infrastructure.”

The minister in question is Ron Schuler, who has refused to disclose whether he’s been vaccinated, stating his personal health information is private. 

Silence from Schuler

The Progressive Conservative caucus has reported that 34 of its 35 MLAs are fully vaccinated, but wouldn’t specify the vaccination status of the remaining elected official, or whether it’s been disclosed to the party.

The statement doesn’t say whether MLAs will face consequences for failing to adhere to the vaccination requirement.

Stefanson, who has faced calls for her to demand her MLAs be fully vaccinated since her election as PC leader in late October, will speak with media after question period on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Opposition New Democrats demanded Schuler be dismissed from cabinet.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler has kept mum on his vaccination status despite repeated inquiries. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Beginning on Dec. 15, the entire legislative building will be barred to the unvaccinated. Everyone entering the building — ranging from MLAs to government staff and visitors — will have to provide proof of vaccination.

The premier’s spokesperson said the deadline may be moved up if the “appropriate systems are in place” earlier, in collaboration with the deputy premier, Manitoba Justice and Central Services.

The NDP and Liberals say all their MLAs are fully vaccinated.

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