He didn’t really say that, did he?

Resistance to jumping on the vaccination bandwagon likely cost the Conservatives votes in the recent election. But apparently, some MPs in the party still won’t hear the message voters sent them.

This weekend, Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl issued a startling statement on Twitter. “As Conservatives clearly stated during the election campaign, Justin Trudeau’s vaccine mandate is discriminatory, coercive and must be opposed. We must continue to demand reasonable exemptions and accommodations, like rapid testing for those unable or unwilling to be vaccinated.”

Strahl and many colleagues continue to coddle anti-vaccination loudmouths in the name of “personal freedom, but their views are moving further and further outside mainstream Canadian thinking.

And vaccinations are no longer a personal freedom issue. They’re a public health issue. People refusing to get vaccinated put others in danger. One person’s freedom must not be at the expense of another’s health.

Statistics released on Friday showed 88.6% of eligible British Columbians have now received their first vaccine dose and 82.2% both doses.

Those are large percentages and show the unvaccinated have become a fringe element.

The mainstream is vaccinated, wants to be safe and supports health measures to protect them. Those measures include the federal mandates requiring government employees and travellers on planes and trains to be vaccinated, as well as provincial rules requiring government employees to be vaccinated and people attending public gathering places and events to show their vaccine cards.

Standing with those in opposition to these measures is being on the wrong side of the issue and the wrong side of public opinion. Strahl and other Conservatives need to get on the right side.

They sound like some union leaders who are standing up for the

10% of their members who won’t get vaccinated instead of the 90% who will and want to be safe at work. Some, like the BC Nurses Union’s Christine Sorensen, are out of their leadership positions already. More may follow if they don’t stand up for the majority of their members.

As MPs get ready to return to the House of Commons, some Conservatives aren’t vaccinated or won’t say, causing concern among other MPs who will be sitting in a closed room with them.

The unvaccinated MPs show a disregard for the welfare of others.

In constrast, B.C.’s “conservative” party, the BC Liberals, are on the right side of this issue. Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier recently described the threats he’s received from anti-vaxxers, but he refuses to back down from his pro-vaccine stand. Likewise, many of his colleagues.

On Friday, the province reported 360 people were in hospital and 137 in intensive care with COVID-19.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 69.4% of COVID cases and 76.7% of hospitalizations, the province said.

Of 4,667 COVID cases reported Sept. 30-Oct. 6, 62.7% were unvaccinated.

Using up health-care resources is another way the unvaccinated are harming the rest.

In fact, the vaccine mandates issued by the federal and provincial governments are reasonable, popular and overdue. Strahl and other Conservatives should endorse these mandates instead of the lunatic fringe.

City Editor Pat Bulmer