Nicholls loses Deputy Speaker role
Local MPP Rick Nicholls is no longer the deputy house speaker at Queen’s Park.
The provincial government passed a motion Tuesday morning to remove Nicholls, according to 680 News in Toronto.
He is sitting as an Independent MPP for Chatham-Kent Leamington after getting kicked out of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party caucus six weeks ago when he refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, citing a personal choice.
Nicholls officially announced Tuesday morning that he is stepping down as Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Committee of the Whole House. But he insists he’s not an anti-vaxxer.
“People should not be penalized for their choice to either get vaccinated or to not be vaccinated,” Nicholls said at Tuesday’s news conference at Queen’s Park.
Nicholls, 71, was first elected in 2011 and said he will not be running for re-election in the June 2022 election.
“Serving the people and the Legislative Assembly as a deputy speaker, has been very rewarding and yes, even challenging at times too. Knowing how to respond to tense situations takes a certain skill set to respectfully calm the waters and I was able to do that successfully,” said Nicholls in a statement. “I stand strong in my personal choice not to be vaccinated, which ultimately led to [my] decision to step down. I oppose mandatory vaccines. I believe in personal choice when it comes to having a foreign substance injected and that an individual should not be punished for CHOICE.”
Nicholls also opposes vaccine passports because he said they will create a two-tier society, pitting the vaccinated against the unvaccinated.
“These passports are a way of those vaccinated telling people they don’t even know what their vaccination medical record is. People must have freedom of choice and of course freedom of speech without fear of recourse,” he concluded.
Nicholls has publicly called the COVID-19 vaccine an experimental drug because he said there hasn’t been enough research done.
He spoke at a freedom rally in Toronto in September, which was posted on his Facebook page, saying he gave up his political career for those against the shot and accused medical officers of health of being paid off to distribute the vaccine. Nicholls also criticized workplace policies that fire those who refuse to get vaccinated and even hinted at corruption within the College of Physicians and Surgeons.