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RAILROADED: CN employee's job in jeopardy for refusing vaccine

David Menzies interviews a CN Rail worker who is facing dismissal from his job as a locomotive engineer for refusing to take a COVID vaccine.

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Meet Sean Howe. In addition to being a CN locomotive engineer, he was also the PPC candidate for the Manitoba riding of Kildonan/St. Paul.

And Howe is not at all happy with CN’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirements which were announced last month.

This requirement will apply to the company’s current roster of approximately 25,000 employees and any new hires in Canada (as well as CN’s wholly-owned subsidiaries). The vaccination deadline was recently extended to Nov. 15, 2021, and the policy is firm: get the jabs or lose your jobs.

Talk about being railroaded!

Howe likes his job and it’s a well-paying gig. But as a personal choice, he does not want to take the experimental vaccine and says he is prepared to be dismissed if it comes to that.

However, in the meantime, Howe isn’t going down without a fight.

Dozens of other CN employees are in the same predicament as Howe, and they have collectively retained Leighton Grey, Q.C. of Grey Wowk Spencer LLP. This law firm recently sent a threat letter CN’s Montreal head office, which states, in part:

There are many reasonable and practical alternatives to mandatory vaccination that would be more effective at controlling spread of the virus amongst CN employees, all of which are far less prejudicial than summary termination of loyal employees exercising their human right and civil liberty to refuse the vaccine; and mandating employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine violates the fundamental tenet of medicine known as informed consent, and the Hippocratic medical maxim — ‘do no harm’.

There is no rational or legal basis for making Covid-19 vaccination a condition of employment with CN. This violates Provincial, Federal, and International Human Rights statutes, agreements, and conventions.

The letter further notes that if CN disciplines or terminates workers based on not getting the COVID-19 vaccination, a class-action lawsuit will be brought, human rights claims will be filed, and action for injunctive relief will be brought in federal court for “punitive damages against CN for violating the fundamental human rights of its employees.”

While most of the CN employees facing dismissal wish to remain anonymous for now, such is not the case with Sean Howe. .

Check out our exclusive interview with him, in which he wonders whatever happened to the once-celebrated concepts of “my body, my choice” and “reasonable accommodation” in this day and age of the COVID pandemic? As well, there are already terrible disruptions occurring in the supply chain these days — how can a rail company continue to function by mass-firing numerous employees at this time?

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  • By Ezra Levant

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