Nicholls decides to seek re-election after all

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Rick Nicholls

By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Chatham-Kent–Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls has announced he’s seeking a fourth term in Queen’s Park.

But this time the former Conservative politician will be flying the Ontario Party banner.

“We are a true conservative party,” Nicholls said in a recent announcement, adding his new political home supports the tenets of fiscal responsibility, truth, transparency and “faith and family.”

Nicholl’s third term representing local constituents has been mired in controversy. The former deputy speaker of the Ontario legislature was kicked out of the Conservative caucus last August by Premier Doug Ford after he refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

But that didn’t silence Nicholls.

The veteran politician has continued to use his voice to share his beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccine on multiple social media platforms, calling the immunization “an experimental drug,” a statement refuted by numerous health experts locally, provincially, nationally and around the world.

Nicholls said he’s remains concerned about the effect of pandemic safety protocols on children, especially when it comes to wearing masks.

He has vowed to work on abolishing masking mandates if elected.

After being ousted from the Conservative caucus last summer, he said he had no intention of running in the upcoming June election.

His decision is an about face from his earlier plan of retiring at the end of the term.

Nicholls said he decided to seek a fourth after careful consultation with his wife.

“I sat back for about three months after serving as an independent thinking I was going to retire,” Nicholls said. “Doug Ford made it clear I couldn’t run as a Conservative.”

But then the Ontario Party reached out asking for help. Nicholls said he then assisted the party with writing its vision, mission and value statements.

Nicholls has also been continuing to spread his anti-COVID-19 vaccine messaging, spreading his views far and wide.

Throwing his hat in the ring mints Nicholls as the first sitting Ontario Party MPP to seek election.

Following his expulsion by Ford, Nicholls continued to sit as an Independent before joining the Ontario Party led by Derek Sloan last December.

Sloan, a former Conservative MP who represented Hastings-Lennox and Addington was booted from the Conservative Party caucus by former leader Erin O’Toole after it was learned he had received a donation from a white supremacist.

Sloan, a lawyer, has also been criticized for being racist and for his outspoken stance on LGBTQ issues.

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