Sarnia-Lambton Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu.  September 24, 2019 Photo by Melanie Irwin. Sarnia-Lambton Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu. September 24, 2019 Photo by Melanie Irwin.

MP Gladu calls on Bluewater Health to rehire terminated staff

Sarnia-Lambton's member of parliament is calling on Bluewater Health to hire back hospital staff who were fired earlier this week.

Bluewater Health said 18 team members were terminated for not complying with its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

On social media Thursday, MP Marilyn Gladu commended Quebec's recent decision to rollback its vaccination mandate for healthcare workers.

"[Bluewater] Health should follow suit and hire back the staff they fired," read Gladu's tweet.

In an interview with Sarnia News Today, Gladu explained her stance.

"At the beginning of the pandemic, nurses on the front lines were wearing their PPE, there's no evidence that they transmitted COVID-19 to patients and nobody was vaccinated at that point so I think we really need to look at reasonable accommodations before starting to think about terminating people."

The Ontario Hospital Association has said although hospitals have "robust infection prevention and control practices", vaccines provide the highest level of protection against COVID-19.

"Vaccination has already had a meaningful impact in the long-term care sector for both residents and staff. Following the government’s implementation of a mandatory vaccine requirement for long-term care operators, the current number of outbreaks across all homes is lower than in hospitals," said an OHA media release.

The OHA expressed its displeasure on Wednesday after the Ford government reiterated it would not mandate COVID-19 vaccines for hospital employees, even though many hospitals have already implemented a policy.

"I think [the tweet] follows with Doug Ford's announcement where he also said he would not really want to see the healthcare workers eliminated," said Gladu. "We are still in this pandemic, we still need them."

Meanwhile, MPs and their staff will soon need to disclose their own vaccination status in order to enter the House of Commons parliamentary precinct. However, those with a medical exemption will be required to provide proof of a negative rapid antigen test.

"I haven't disclosed my vaccination status publicly although I would say on November 22, if I show up in the House of Commons, that secret would be out," said Gladu. "I'm trying to make a point that we have medical privacy rights in this country. Where my doctor would not be able to disclose my vaccination status, I shouldn't have to disclose my medical information either."

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole had previously said the entire Conservative caucus would "respect and abide new rules" but that his party will challenge the House's Board of Internal Economy for implementing the vaccine mandate.

Gladu along with 15 to 30 other Conservative MP's are forming what she terms a "mini caucus". The purpose is to advocate for citizens concerned about vaccine mandates and their impacts.

On Friday, she released a statement on social media stating the decision to form the Civil Liberties Caucus "is not a challenge to the Leader of the Official Opposition's leadership."

"Members of Parliament forming smaller caucuses is not uncommon on Parliament Hill. Most, if not all members, belong to these caucuses," said Gladu in a statement. "The Civil Liberties Caucus will serve as a mechanism to bring forward ideas to the Conservative National Caucus and will not take any position that is contrary to the collective perspective of our Leader and and the national caucus."

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