January 23, 2022

Board overstepped in imposing vaccine mandate on House: Speaker

OTTAWA —
House Speaker Anthony Rota has sided with the Conservative challenge of the imposition of a vaccine mandate on the Chamber, ruling that the board that made the decision overstepped and breached MPs’ privileges.

In a ruling issued Thursday, Rota said that he agrees with the issue raised over how the Board of Internal Economy imposed the order, stating that the board “exceeded its authority in a way that conflicts with the privileges of the House.”

Chief opposition whip Blake Richards raised the question of privilege on Nov. 23, questioning specifically the jurisdiction of the board to be able to make the decision to impose a vaccine mandate.

At the time, Richards had asked that if his challenge was found to have merit, a vote would be put to the House of Commons on what the rules around vaccination or rapid testing should be for members of Parliament.

In making the ruling, Rota found that request out of scope but gave the Conservatives the option to work on an acceptable motion to either censure the board or refer the matter to committee for further discussion.

However, raising in response to the ruling on Thursday, Richards indicated that he doesn’t intend to pursue the matter any further.

“I believe he certainly has established that, you know, the principle that the Board of Internal Economy does not have the independent authority to deny members access to the precinct, therefore I am satisfied with the ruling, and I think the fact that that precedent has been set is satisfactory,” he said.

More coming…

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