Is Haldimand-Norfolk’s new member of Parliament vaccinated against COVID? She refuses to say.
But Leslyn Lewis took her seat in the House of Commons this week, meaning the Conservative MP either showed proof of vaccination or received a medical exemption.
Lewis is one of an unspecified number of Conservative MPs — analysis by the Toronto Star suggests “as high as a dozen and as few as four” — whose vaccination status is not publicly known.
On the campaign trail, Lewis would only say she was taking daily rapid COVID tests.
Lewis has declined numerous interview requests. In media releases and on social media, she has touted the importance of medical privacy and individual rights when it comes to COVID vaccination.
“This is what we campaigned on as the Conservative Party — that we would respect the medical decisions that Canadians make,” Lewis said in a statement in which she opposed the vaccine mandate for House of Commons staff, including MPs.
“Several people have argued that I should not have an opinion on the vaccine mandate issue because my ‘doctorate is not in medicine,’” said Lewis, whose doctorate is in law.
“As this is a discussion on ‘rights’ it is indeed a conversation that I feel is very much within my purview.”
In a tweet, Lewis said Canadian children were being “used as shields for adults” in the push to vaccinate those under 12 years old.
She later said some parents have raised “concerns” about the vaccine and those concerns should be respected.
“This debate is truly about whether we as a society are going to respect a parent’s right to exercise the ultimate responsibility for the well-being of their children,” she said.
“Parents know what’s best for their children, and governments can never replace the protection of loving parents.”
Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children, and medical experts encourage parents to immunize their children in order to protect them against contracting and passing on COVID.
J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator