Liberal leadership candidate in twitter feud after letter supporting truck convoy and denouncing extension of vaccine passports

MLA in new Twitter feud

A new Twitter battle has erupted between Kelowna-Mission MLA and BC Liberal leadership hopeful Renee Merrifield and former Liberal MLA and current talk show host Jas Johal.

Johal, in a nine-point rant, took exception to Merrifield's Twitter post seeking support for her leadership campaign.

In the lengthy letter, Merrifield threw her support behind the truckers convoy heading to Ottawa and disagreed with the province's decision to extend the vaccine passport until at least June 1.

"The truckers rally currently driving across Canada is what happens when politicians have lost sight of common sense solutions, and have turned instead to divisive language," she wrote in part, saying truckers have kept the supply chains open throughout the pandemic.

"And (Tuesday) when the vaccine passports were extended to June 1, I wondered why?

"At a time when polls are showing one-third of British Columbians are struggling with their mental health because of COVID-19, and one-quarter report being depressed, why wouldn't we look to reduce restrictions and allow people to be together again?"

Johal, who last year also lashed out at Merrifield for comments about the NDP's lack of diversity, called the email irresponsible for anyone running for the leadership of the BC Liberal party.

He said the convoy is not representative of the trucking industry or the broader Canadian population.

"Ms. Merrifield joins Conservative MP’s, in playing footsie, with a fringe movement of anti-vaxxers, and anti-establishment types," he wrote.

"Already reports show people online are calling the trucker convoy Canada’s version of the U.S. Capitol insurrection and for the truckers to ram their trucks into Parliament, and people encouraging the hanging of politicians."

He also said health officials have stated unvaccinated people are 12 times more likely to require hospitalization and 27 times more likely to require intensive care.

"Whoever wins the leadership race, must never let Ms. Merrifield near the Health portfolio ever again," wrote Johal.

Merrifield reached out to supporters, thanking them for their support over the past 24 hours, while lashing out at Johal.

"It’s attitudes like this that discourage good people from public service. No wonder our province & country are in trouble. Political debate on policy is fair game. Unprovoked attacks without accountability cross the line. Sorry you disagree.

"This is the third time this media personality has taken a run at me, and made disparaging remarks about my character. I’ve never spoken to this “man.” Despite repeated offers to speak him about his unprovoked attacks, he has not once returned my call."

The BC Liberals will elect a new leader Feb. 5.

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