Group of 'like-minded' Conservatives looking to form 'mini-caucus' to talk about vaccines
MP Marilyn Gladu says constituents are worried about the effects of vaccine mandates on civil liberties
It's being described as a Conservative "mini-caucus" — a group of MPs and senators looking to gather to examine issues related to COVID-19 vaccines.
Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu is spearheading the effort. She said that 15 to 30 Conservatives have expressed interest in taking part, although the final number of participants hasn't been determined.
Gladu said the idea is for the pseudo-committee to call on experts to explore issues constituents have raised related to civil liberties.
"People are asking things about losing their jobs, vaccine mandates. Parents of children [younger] than 11 are concerned about the long term health impacts of these vaccines on their kids," she told CBC News. "There are people that are concerned because they haven't taken the vaccine that they can't leave or enter the country."
WATCH: Erin O'Toole discusses mandatory vaccination policy for MPs
Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole's office did not offer comment when asked about news of the plans Thursday. Gladu said she hasn't informed the leader yet, adding that she's certain she'll "be getting a call."
The Hill Times first reported on the formation of the group Thursday. Gladu, who was a contender in the 2020 Conservative leadership race before dropping out, said the intent is not to challenge O'Toole's leadership.
"This is my party and I want to make sure we stay unified," she said. "And really, all we are trying to do is ... follow up on what our constituents have asked us and dig into it and find some answers that will inform policy."
The move comes as party sources tell CBC News that fewer than 10 Conservative MPs remain unvaccinated ahead of the resumption of Parliament on Nov. 22. That date is also when a new rule requiring proof of vaccination from anyone entering the House of Commons comes into effect.
Gladu said the group will discuss vaccination status disclosure for MPs and all Canadians.
"Medical privacy in this country is something people are concerned about and so I think it's worth standing on those principles," she said.
Gladu has not publicly stated whether she is fully vaccinated. "I think it will be quite apparent on November 22," she said.