Saskatchewan MLA says vaccine passports ‘crushed families,’ left residents destitute

‘I‘ll never forget the shock and bewilderment of all these people in Saskatchewan crying on the phone, talking about suicide, leaving the province, leaving Canada,’ testified MLA Nadine Wilson. ‘I’ll carry that with me forever.’

Saskatchewan MLA says vaccine passports ‘crushed families,’ left residents destitute
The Canadian Press / Michael Bell
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MLA Nadine Wilson finds herself without allies at the Saskatchewan legislature over her opposition to pandemic vaccine mandates, who rejected vaccine passports on the basis they violated privacy rights.

During her May 30 testimony at the Regina National Citizens Inquiry on COVID-19, the incumbent official for Saskatchewan Rivers said compulsory vaccination created undue hardship for many residents. In some cases, homes and businesses were lost.

“The very essence of democracy was thrown away, as decisions were made behind closed doors with little or no transparency, no accountability,” MLA Wilson said.

She adds that an apology from the government is in order for residents to heal.

“What people are telling me is that in order to heal, in order for them to move on, they need an apology,” she said

The former Saskatchewan Party MLA defected from the caucus in September 2021 to form the Saskatchewan United Party over the dispute. 

One month later, the province imposed a compulsory COVID-19 vaccination requirement to access select businesses and service providers.

Party leadership said all caucus members verbally confirmed receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. Wilson did not procure written proof of her vaccination status at the time.

“I'd never been asked for proof of my vaccinations in my entire life. And I said, ‘Well, you shouldn’t be asking me these questions,’” the four-term MLA said.

Wilson also conveyed that her protest cost her friends within the government, but stands by her decision nonetheless.

“I thought I had really strong connections and friendships and bonds with my fellow colleagues in the government,” she testified. “We would join in barbecues, family weddings, family funerals. They stayed in my home, I stayed at theirs.”

“But all that changed when I decided to leave my party over my vaccination status.”

Saskatchewan ended its vaccine mandate in February 2022, amid widespread protests against COVID-19 policies.

The province abandoned previously well-established emergency management procedures and replaced them with emergency orders issued by chief medical health officers.

Cabinet was shut out from all pandemic-related communications and decisions.

“Fear was paramount. Fear from the government, fear from the media, it was just pounded into people,” she said. “Thousands of people from across the province ended up reaching out to me, as their own elected officials turned off their phones, shut their offices, and would not reply.”

MLA Wilson never received a proper response from the government to written questions she submitted on pandemic restrictions. 

“I didn’t get any answers,” she said. 

The incumbent official notes the pandemic response “created an overwhelming sense of loneliness and despair” and “crushed families.”

“I‘ll never forget the shock and bewilderment of all these people in Saskatchewan crying on the phone, talking about suicide, leaving the province, leaving Canada. And I’ll probably carry that with me forever,” she testified.

“The best I could do was listen and just be there and say, ‘No, this isn’t going to last forever.’”

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