OPINION: Public officials


This newspaper has encouraged our local MPP to get vaccinated, and is now listing which municipal councillors have been vaccinated.

That might not sit well with some people.

We offer no apologies.

As political figures elected by the public, these people have to be held accountable to the people they represent.

In Rick Nicholls’ case, the Chatham-Kent–Leamington MPP opted to quit the provincial Conservative caucus rather than receive vaccinations against COVID-19.

That’s his right as an individual. But we argued that as a Member of Provincial Parliament elected by the people of Chatham-Kent–Leamington, he has duties to those people as their representative. More than 75 per cent of adults in Chatham-Kent are now double vaccinated against the illness. In Nicholls’ age group, that number climbs to 91 per cent.

Public health officials at all levels encourage large-scale vaccinations, hailing this as the way to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the long-term health impacts, even deaths, to some people.

But Nicholls said no.

And now, as we asked our municipal councillors if they have been jabbed against COVID-19, not all answered us, nor did everyone disclose their state of vaccination. These people are soon expected to look at a proposal for all municipal staff to be vaccinated. The proposal could include verbiage on possible termination for people who decline to receive the vaccine.
That’s what Chatham-Kent Health Alliance employees face, while Ontario public service employees must be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

If councillors are willing to put guidelines in place for municipal employees – and we are not saying that is a done deal – should they not face the same guidelines? They deal with the public and attend various functions on behalf of the municipality. They should protect others from the virus in any way possible.

And if they believe their personal health information in this case should remain private, well, tell that to all the public employees who must be double vaccinated.

Public health officials at the federal, provincial and municipal level stress the vaccines are safe and proven. Listen to the experts, not someone sitting in their basement watching YouTube videos from questionable sources.


  1. As an elected representative who has chosen to put his personal beliefs above those of his constituents, surely Nicholls should be resigning his MPP position. He cannot represent the people of this riding as his views are contrary to the the prevailing public view, including that of Provincial Premier Doug Ford. I’ll support his decision to hold off being vaccinated, but as it’s incompatible with his public position, something has to give.


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