Politicians entering Sask. legislature will need to be vaccinated or provide negative COVID-19 test

·2 min read
Politicians will have to follow the protocols outlined by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan (Bryan Eneas/CBC News - image credit)
Politicians will have to follow the protocols outlined by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan (Bryan Eneas/CBC News - image credit)

Politicians who enter Saskatchewan's legislative building will have to follow some of the same COVID-19 guidelines that came into place in many other locations Friday.

Legislative assembly Speaker Randy Weekes announced new measures Thursday for anyone who wants to enter the building.

Politicians will have to provide full proof of vaccination status against COVID-19. If they can't provide proof they will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test, taken no more than 72 hours before they enter the building.

The province's program requiring residents to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19, or a negative COVID test result, to enter a range of businesses and event venues officially began Friday.

The change comes amid Saskatchewan's surge in COVID-19 cases.

During the month of September, the province's seven-day average of daily new cases climbed from 271 on Sept. 1 to 488 by Thursday, according to the province's online dashboard.

People are also now dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate in Saskatchewan than any other province in the country.

Sask. Party MLA resigned from caucus

The legislature's proof of vaccination requirement also comes after Sask. Party MLA Nadine Wilson resigned from the party's caucus, after misrepresenting her own vaccination status.

Wilson, who represents the Saskatchewan Rivers constituency, will now sit as an independent MLA.

At a news conference on Thursday, Premier Scott Moe said the party discovered she had misrepresented her status — claiming she was fully vaccinated — as the province moved closer to the Friday start date for its proof-of-vaccination policy.

The Sask. Party said in a news release the caucus can confirm its remaining 47 MLAs are fully vaccinated.

With the new protocols in place, in order for Wilson to enter the legislative building, she'll have to show proof of vaccination, or show a negative COVID-19 test.

Wilson said in a statement Thursday that she does not support the direction the Saskatchewan Party is taking with regards to public health measures.

"I have taken time to listen to the people in my riding and reflect on my role as an elected official and citizen," she said.

"I believe in the fundamental values of freedom of personal choice, voluntary informed consent, without the element of duress or coercion."

Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan Video Archives
Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan Video Archives

Some people in the Saskatchewan Rivers constituency are worried about not having as much representation now that Wilson will sit as an independent MLA.

"We don't have as much of a voice, so that part is kind of annoying," said Dean Timm, one of the owners of Lake Country Cottage Restaurant in Christopher Lake, about 170 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

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