Pallister responds to backbenchers’ criticism of COVID-19 vaccine passports

Brian Pallister has offered some thoughts on caucus unity as he enters his final days as Manitoba premier.

Pallister was asked Monday about two Progressive Conservative backbenchers who have criticized the government’s vaccine passports.

Read more: Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister looks back on career before stepping down Wednesday

He said Monday people who start acting like the opposition should prepare to be in opposition because they are not helping their own team.

The premier’s comments come after Tory members of the legislature James Teitsma and Josh Guenter both posted on social media that the government’s recent public health measures — which limit some activities to the fully vaccinated and include a return to an indoor mask mandate —  go too far.

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Click to play video: 'Legacy of Brian Pallister with premier set to step down Wednesday' Legacy of Brian Pallister with premier set to step down Wednesday

Legacy of Brian Pallister with premier set to step down Wednesday

In comments about the health orders, Teitsma referenced human rights violations, including residential schools, forced sterilizations and internment camps.

“One thing these human rights violations have in common: they were popular and favoured by the public.”

Guenter, in a letter to Premier Brian Pallister, wrote that the vaccine mandate “sledgehammer” won’t work in his southeastern Manitoba constituency and that it is creating two classes of people.

Read more: Manitoba politician loses assignment after supporting leadership candidate

Pallister is stepping down as premier on Wednesday and is making a few last announcements before he leaves.

Monday morning in Brandon, he revealed plans for two new scholarships at Brandon University, his alma mater.

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Pallister is to make a funding announcement later in the day at the International Peace Gardens in southwestern Manitoba.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Pallister announces mask mandate returning, vaccination requirement for some government employees' COVID-19: Pallister announces mask mandate returning, vaccination requirement for some government employees

COVID-19: Pallister announces mask mandate returning, vaccination requirement for some government employees

The Progressive Conservative party is to select a new leader on Oct. 30, and the legislature is expected to reconvene in the fall.

Political analyst Paul Thomas says Pallister will be remembered for reducing the deficit and lowering taxes in his first term between 2016 and 2019.

Read more: Manitoba premier not committing to stay on until leadership vote

But, Thomas says, Pallister’s belief in smaller government and lower spending made it hard for him to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact.

“His basic belief system made it hard for him to respond in an appropriate manner to the magnitude of the crises he was facing,” said Thomas, professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Manitoba.

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Who’s next to lead the Manitoba Conservatives? – Aug 11, 2021

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