Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday November 9, 2021
Trained Seals and their Trainers
Impatience was mounting among Liberal caucus colleagues as they waited for the first national caucus meeting since the election in September.
Radio-Canada spoke to several Liberal MPs, on the record and on background, who said they were eager to make their voices heard on issues at an official gathering.
Two weeks age, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with his newly appointed cabinet ministers, but backbench MPs say they’re confused why the whole team hasn’t met yet since securing a minority government in September.
Quebec MP Alexandra Mendès said she found the wait puzzling, while Ontario MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said there was no possible reason for the delay.
“There’s no explanation or excuse for not having already had a national caucus meeting,” he said at the time. “I expect we will have one shortly.”
Another MP, who didn’t want to be named, acknowledged there was a certain level of frustration in the caucus.
The federal Liberal caucus finally met for the first time on November 8. (CBC)
Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said today he expects his party’s MPs to promote vaccines and leave talk about their efficacy to the health experts — a comment that comes after a Conservative caucus member made some eyebrow-raising comments about COVID-19 shots over the weekend.
O’Toole and his team have been grappling with questions about vaccines for months as some of his party’s MPs and senators have spoken out against mandatory shots or have avoided getting vaccinated altogether.
O’Toole has tried to walk a fine line — telling Canadians he supports the vaccination campaign while opposing mandatory vaccination rules for public servants and the travelling public.
O’Toole also has said his party will challenge a House of Commons Board of Internal Economy policy that requires all MPs attending Parliament in person to be vaccinated — but has refused to say how many Conservative caucus members are fully vaccinated.
A group of Conservative parliamentarians recently formed what they call a “civil liberties” working group to advocate for the unvaccinated.
While promoting the group’s work during an appearance on CTV, Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu suggested that polio — a disease largely eradicated in Canada through vaccinations — posed more of a threat than COVID-19.
“In terms of the risk, people that got polio, many of them died and many of them were crippled, and that is not the same frequency of risk that we see with COVID-19,” she said in an interview on the network’s Question Period program.
“I’m just receiving the information from medical experts that talk about the relative risk. I’m not a doctor myself.” (CBC)