Sask. Independent MLA Nadine Wilson on her own in latest legislative session
Saskatchewan Rivers MLA resigned from Sask. Party caucus after misrepresenting COVID-19 vaccine status
In the latest Saskatchewan legislative sitting, Saskatchewan Rivers MLA Nadine Wilson is an island unto herself.
She now sits as an Independent MLA in the legislature, far removed and physically distanced from both the Official Opposition and her former colleagues in the Saskatchewan Party government.
Her political positions have left her even more isolated.
On Tuesday, the Opposition NDP attempted to amend the rules of the legislature, in a move that would have effectively left Wilson unable to sit in the legislature.
The proposed changes would have required masks to be worn at all times in the legislature, including when speaking in the House, and would have required anyone wanting to participate in debate to either be fully vaccinated or have a medical exception.
The proposal was swiftly shot down by MLAs from the governing Sask. Party.
Motion 'bullying': Wilson
Wilson resigned from the party's caucus late last month after it was revealed she had misrepresented her COVID-19 vaccination status.
The MLA said at the time she no longer supported the direction of the Saskatchewan Party in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I believe in the fundamental values of freedom of personal choice, voluntary informed consent, without the element of duress or coercion," she said in a September email to CBC.
On Thursday, government House leader Jeremy Harrison said that despite the party's profound disagreements with Wilson, she should not be blocked from attending the legislature.
Currently, MLAs are allowed to enter the legislature either by showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination or by showing proof of a negative test.
Wilson described the motion as "bullying" in a post-question period scrum with media.
"I'm put there by the people, for the people and I think diversity in the chamber is a very healthy and robust conversation," she said.
'Friends on both sides': Wilson
Wilson declined to share her vaccination status with media on Thursday.
"You'll have to ask the security guards how I get in," she said.
Wilson is the only sitting MLA to publicly share anti-vaccination-mandate beliefs in Saskatchewan, which remains the province with the highest per capita case count over the past seven days and the highest deaths per capita in Canada in the same time period.
Those views culminated last month with Wilson's resignation from caucus. She also resigned her position as deputy Speaker of the legislature, which she said she did out of "respect for the institution."
"A lot of colleagues are my friends, on both sides. I thought it would be very hard to have a motion, a no-confidence vote," she said after question period on Thursday, explaining her decision.
Prince Albert Carlton MLA Joe Hargrave was selected as her replacement in a secret ballot on Thursday.
Despite her situation, Wilson says she is getting a great deal of support as an Independent MLA.
She even went so far as to address a crowd of protesters gathered outside the legislature on Wednesday ahead of the government's throne speech.
Anti-vaccine policy protestors shout “Scott Moe come on out” outside of the Saskatchewan legislature as the throne speech is set to begin. <br><br>Moe was scheduled to have a ceremony at the ledge at 1:30 pm but it was cancelled due to “recent threats” said govt. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/skpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#skpoli</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/covid19sk?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#covid19sk</a> <a href="https://t.co/9Xw6giTako">pic.twitter.com/9Xw6giTako</a>—@MickeyDjuric
The group of more than a hundred people were there as part of an anti-vaccination mandate protest.
The protesters were implied to be the reason a series of outdoor events meant to mark the new legislative session were cancelled, according to Harrison, who said they "were very assertive, aggressive in their protests."
- Video'Unfortunate circumstance' as anti-vaccination mandate protest cancels outdoor throne speech ceremonies
A government announcement, however, said "recent threats" were the reason for the decision to cancel the inspection of a Canadian Forces Honour Guard, a 15-gun salute by 10th Field Regiment and a fly-past by 15 Wing Moose Jaw.
It's the first time in Saskatchewan that a ceremony connected to a throne speech had to be cancelled, according to Harrison.