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RCMP union will support Mounties who shun COVID-19 vaccination despite federal order


By Jim Bronskill

OTTAWA — The union representing RCMP officers says it will support decisions by members “to be vaccinated or not” against COVID-19 following a federal order that Mounties be immunized.

The Liberal government announced last week that core public servants, including members and reservists of the RCMP, must be vaccinated or face suspension without pay as early as Nov. 15.

Brian Sauve, president of the National Police Federation, said Friday the union expected a more “meaningful and authentic” dialogue with the government on the policy.

The federation, which represents some 20,000 members, is disappointed by the government’s “engagement-by-notification” approach to the policy announcement, Sauve said in a statement.

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“As we have maintained throughout 2021, consistent with our duty of fair representation, the NPF will continue to support members’ access to vaccines, and their choice to be vaccinated or not. We have also clarified to them the potential consequences of their decisions,” Sauve said.

“We will continue to monitor Treasury Board and the RCMP’s implementation of this policy framework and will support our members, as needed and appropriate, on an individual basis.”

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki is publicly touting vaccination against COVID-19, saying in a tweet Thursday it “could save your life or the life of someone you love. Don’t delay, get vaccinated today!”

She thanked Dr. Peter Clifford, the RCMP’s chief medical adviser, for a video message in which he told members that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is critical to keeping safe from severe and possibly fatal illness.

“Think of it this way. As a police officer, you wear body armour because it could save your life if you get shot,” Clifford says in the video posted on the RCMP website.

“When you get in a vehicle, you wear a seatbelt because it could save your life in an accident.”

A vaccine acts very much the same way, he says. “It’s like body armour or a seatbelt for your lungs. It’s not a guarantee that you will never get sick, but if you do, it’s the reason you’ll survive.”

The video advises RCMP members to report their vaccine status to divisional occupational and health services.

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