Saskatchewan Rivers MLA resigns over vaccine status

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Prince Albert Daily Herald

Former Sask. Party caucus member Nadine Wilson not only chose to wear a first vaccination status sticker, but verbally told people she was vaccinated when she was not.

Wilson, who is the MLA for Saskatchewan Rivers, has been a member of the Sask. Party caucus since 2007 and gave her resignation recently after being unable to provide documentation that she was indeed vaccinated.

Caucus chair David Buckingham said he asked all members of the caucus to show paper proof they had been vaccinated.

“That’s when we found out that one of our members was not, indeed, vaccinated. That had to be dealt with. That’s not acceptable,” said Buckingham.

In addition to public documentation of wearing a vaccination sticker when she was not, Wilson also told many other MLAs she was vaccinated.

“We are disappointed and frustrated at the news that Nadine Wilson has not been fully vaccinated, despite representing herself to be,” said NDP leader Ryan Meili in an emailed statement.  “MLA Wilson had portrayed herself to be fully vaccinated to many of our own members, putting them at risk due to her misleading assurances.”

Buckingham canvassed Sask. Party members this spring as to their vaccination status and received verbal confirmations that all were vaccinated but when he asked for written proof, Wilson’s deception was discovered.

“As we find our way to October 1, our caucus, just like much of the public service and many other private employers in the province are putting in place our verification process for proof of vaccination or proof of negative test,” said Premier Scott Moe. “In the past couple of days this has come to light with Ms. Wilson. Once we found out the information, we obviously wanted to go public.”

Other than Wilson, all members have provided documented proof of vaccination.

Starting October 1, all government employees, including MLAs who are employees of the Assembly, must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test every seven days.

“If she was going to continue to sit in the House at this time, the proof of vaccination or proof of negative test policy would be in effect in the Legislature like it is for any other provincial public service,” Moe said. 

Moe chose not to answer questions on how serious of an offence it was for Wilson to be wearing a first vaccination sticker when she has not received any vaccine.

“I would let Ms. Wilson comment specifically on wearing that sticker while potentially not being vaccinated at that point in time,” he said. “We wore those as a caucus  with verbal confirmation from our caucus chair that everyone was vaccinated or in the process of becoming fully vaccinated.”

Calls to Wilson’s MLA office were met with a full voice mailbox message, but an email surfaced the same day claiming that Wilson was choosing to sit as an independent member.

“I can no longer support the direction of the Saskatchewan Party government or follow the government with true conviction regarding the current health situation,” the email read. “The desire for a just and fair democratic province has helped shape my decision to leave and sit as an independent member.”

The email goes on to say that Wilson has taken time to listen to her constituents and reflect on her role as an elected official.

“I will continue to work for them to the best of my abilities. I believe in the fundamental values of freedom of personal choice, voluntary informed consent without the element of duress or coercion,” it read.

For the general public, starting on October 1, vaccination proof is required for those 12 and older in order to enter places such as restaurants, bars, events and indoor fitness centres.

Acceptable proof includes the QR code in digital or printed form that is on a person’s eHealth record or the wallet card given out at time of vaccination.

The vaccination is not considered full until two weeks after the second dose of either mRNA vaccines or the one dose Johnson and Johnson shot.