DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
DURHAM: Durham MPP Lindsey Park has chosen to leave the provincial Conservative caucus following comments made about her vaccination status.
In a recent statement posted on her Twitter account, MPP Park said a “breakdown in trust” had occurred after House Leader Paul Calandra put out a statement saying the Durham MPP had “misrepresented her vaccination status.”
“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,” Ms. Park’s statement read.
“I will continue to serve my constituents until the next Provincial election, sitting as an Independent member, and I will continue to contribute to Conservative causes well into the future. Being the Member of Provincial Parliament for Durham and being Durham’s voice at Queen’s Park has been the honour of my life.”
The House Leader’s statement was released after MPP Park was removed from her role as Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney General.
“Ms. Lindsey Park will no longer serve as Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney General, as we recently learned she misrepresented her vaccination status. Ms. Park has, however, provided proof of medical exemption. We subsequently verified the vaccination status of caucus members, and as such, our caucus is fully vaccinated with the exception of two members who have received medical exemptions,” read the statement from Government House Leader Paul Calandra.
However, in her lengthy statement, MPP Park claims this is false information.
“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 [COVID-19] 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 [me] 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-Barre syndrome following a flu vaccine,” she explained.
MPP Park stated she then wrote a letter to Premier Ford and delivered it to his office advising him of this change in status. She later checked with the Premier’s office and “was assured” by a “senior member of the Premier’s office that the letter was received.”
All caucus members were required to show either proof of vaccination or a medical exemption to remain as a member of the party, and there will be a similar requirement for any Conservative candidate looking to run in the 2022 election.
But Ms. Park described her emotions as “shocked and horrified” when House Leader Calandra put out his statement earlier this month. MPP Park also seemed to hint at a decision not to run in next year’s provincial election.
“I know the people of Durham will elect a Member of Provincial Parliament as my successor who will continue the important community projects we have advanced during my term and will start new ones that will continue to make Durham one of the best places to live, work and raise a family.”