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Durham MPP clarifies reasons for resigning Ford caucus

Durham MPP clarifies reasons for resigning Ford caucus

On March 8 the Bay Observer published a story that discussed the 19 members of the Ontario PC caucus who were not seeking re-election in the upcoming June election. One of those not running is MPP Lindsey Park of Durham. In our story we wrote she had been accused of fudging her vaccination status. In fact, the House leader had released a statement alleging that she had misrepresented her vaccination status, however, MPP Park insists she had been completely transparent about the matter. Ms. Park has provided the Bay Observer with a copy of her letter of resignation from the caucus submitted last October, the relevant sections of which follow:

On August 10th, in a call with advisors to the Premier, I communicated that I had thought about it and decided I was going to get the vaccine. Following this communication, I booked the soonest available appointment with my doctor. After meeting with my doctor, my doctor advised that I should not take any covid-19 vaccines due to my personal medical history and provided a written exemption.

My doctor provided a medical exemption due to a severe allergic reaction in my past to a flu vaccine. I also have a family medical history where one of my grandparents developed Guillain-Barré syndrome following a flu vaccine. Since my medical exemption was issued, the Ministry of Health has provided further guidance on medical exemptions where they suggest being referred to an allergist in my circumstances. My doctor has since taken steps to refer me to an allergist. I am currently awaiting an appointment date.

On August 26 th, following the appointment with my doctor, I wrote a letter to the Premier and hand delivered it to his office to provide an update on my vaccination status. That letter included the following message:

“Following my last communication with your advisors where I communicated my intention to take the vaccine, I immediately booked appointments with my health care professionals including a doctor, to ensure my personal medical history would not pose any unreasonable risk to being vaccinated. I am writing to confirm that on Monday, August 23rd, 2021, my doctor advised that I should not take any covid-19 vaccines due to my personal medical history. If you require proof of the exemption, I would be pleased to meet you in person and have you inspect the doctor’s letter, provided it will be kept confidential.”

After a press conference on September 22nd, where the Premier stated that only one member of the PC caucus had received a medical exemption, I followed up with the Premier’s office. It had been publicly reported that one of my other colleagues had also received a medical exemption so I wanted to ensure the Premier had received the letter regarding my exemption. I was assured that same day by a senior member of the Premier’s office that the letter was received.

On September 28th , all PC caucus members were asked to send in proof of vaccination to the Government House Leader or the Chief Government Whip. I called the Whip then the House Leader to notify them that I had a medical exemption and had notified the Premier’s office of it about a month ago. I said that I was not comfortable sending my personal medical information by email but was willing to show them my medical exemption in person. The House Leader said it was not necessary and he would take my word for it.

On October 1 st , I attended the PC caucus workshop where a staff member from the Premier’s office was checking vaccination status at the entryway. I showed my doctor’s letter regarding my medical exemption on arrival. The staff member did not have any questions and permitted me access to the meeting.

Hours later the House Leader released a statement alleging I had “misrepresented” my vaccination status. To say I was shocked and horrified would be an understatement.

Since that false statement was first made by the Government House Leader, I have taken the time to carefully reflect on the events that occurred leading up to October 1st . Given the breakdown in trust that has transpired, I have decided that it is not possible to continue as a Progressive Conservative member in the Legislature and I am resigning from the Progressive Conservative Caucus, effective immediately.

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