No regrets says Nicholls, calls removal from caucus forced retirement

Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls at the Ontario Legislature, October 4, 2017. (Photo courtesy of the Ontario Legislature via YouTube)

The Independent MPP for Chatham-Kent says he doesn’t regret declining the COVID-19 vaccine or getting into politics.

Rick Nicholls tells CK News Today he is fighting for the little guy and is staying as the area’s MPP because he is not a quitter and there’s work still to be done.

Nicholls said he is staying to ask the Ontario government the tough questions and feels he still represents the riding, even though the municipality is now 80 per cent vaccinated and he’s had to deal with some backlash for his decision to pass on the vaccine. He admitted some people who have voted for him are angry about his decision not to get the shot.

“In life, there are intended consequences and there are unintended consequences. I knew going in that when I made this decision it would be an intended consequence, but I have no regrets, no regrets at all,” said Nicholls.

He also said that if he decided to step down as MPP, Premier Doug Ford could have called a byelection within six months of the June provincial election and that would have cost taxpayers money.

Nicholls said the people asking for him to walk away are a vocal minority.

Nicholls admitted that the vaccine is good and has saved lives, but noted he’s been wronged and bullied by his former party, calling his removal from caucus forced retirement.

Nicholls said the COVID-19 vaccine has created two separate societies and added that people shouldn’t be fired for refusing to take it.

“Recognize and offer alternatives for those who choose not to get vaccinated, they have their personal reasons and those reasons should be respected. People should not be losing their jobs and that’s what I fight for,” he said.

Nicholls looks back fondly on his time as MPP, citing a new Children’s Treatment Centre in Chatham-Kent, a new St. Angela Merici School, and new concrete barriers on Highway 401 to avoid crossover crashes, but added that politics is not what he thought it would be.

As for what’s next in his life, Nicholls said he’s always open to new opportunities, he could go back to training and development, or even become a government lobbyist.

Nicholls served three terms as MPP in Chatham-Kent and was kicked out of caucus in mid-August when he declined to get vaccinated against the virus.