Last week, Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls stood firm against taking the COVID-19 vaccination. And it was not a decision without consequence. Premier Doug Ford had issued an ultimatum: all his MPPs had to get jabbed by 5 p.m. last Thursday, or face expulsion from caucus. It was not a bluff.
Precisely one hour before the deadline, Nicholls, who was first elected in 2011, held a brief press conference at Queen’s Park noting that he was not going to acquiesce to the premier’s demand nor deadline.
Said Nicholls: “I took the premier at his word that vaccination is a choice and that all Ontarians have a constitutional right to make such a choice. Like almost two million eligible Ontarians, I choose to exercise this autonomy over my own body, while continuing to work hard for the people of Ontario.”
Nicholls did not take any questions from the media upon the conclusion of his four minute long press conference. But we were able to interview Mr. Nicholls the next day regarding his decision.
Nicholls explained that it was a matter of principle not to get jabbed, as opposed to a religious or medical issue.
And he says that he will not be running next year as an independent MPP.
Still, in light of Premier Ford’s ultimatum, the questions arise: whatever happened to the old chestnut of, “my body, my choice”? Whatever happened to the concept of reasonable accommodation?
Apparently when it comes to the Doug Ford PC Party of Ontario, the new and not-so-improved slogan is, “our way or the highway.”
How shameful that Mr. Nicholls must now join a growing number of PC MPPs who have been given the boot merely for expressing a difference of opinion.