NB Grits call on Tory government to turf 'notwithstanding clause' from vaccine bill


New Brunswick's Liberal Party is calling for the removal of the 'notwithstanding clause' from a bill aimed at making vaccinations for children attending schools and daycares unless they have a medical exemption.

Party leader Kevin Vickers says Bill 11 denies individuals rights and freedoms contained in Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedom as well as the Human Rights Act.

Vickers is also calling on the province's Health Minister to bring accurate, or certified data on vaccination rates in the province's schools to the legislature so MLAs can make an informed decision.

He says the province needs to do a better job educating parents on the safety of vaccines, as well as the role they play in protecting children from serious, or even life threatening, infections.

Vickers says opposition to including the notwithstanding clause in the Bill is growing throughout the Legislature and province.

Vickers says the Minister's stance is even being questioned beyond New Brunswick's borders. 

He says Dr. Noni MacDonald, a prominent pediatrician and vaccine advocate in Nova Scotia, has called New Brunswick's proposed rules 'too simple' an approach with the real answer being more education and resources.

Vickers says his party wants no part of a Bill that strips New Brunswickers of their basic rights.

He wants the Minister to 'tone down his rhetoric and have a respectful debate', and if that doesn't happen, the Liberal official opposition will propose an amendment and call for a free vote on the matter.