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New Brunswick’s education minister says people spreading misinformation about the effectiveness of vaccines are from the “far, far fringe.”

A committee of the New Brunswick legislature began hearings Tuesday to hear from supporters and opponents of more stringent vaccine requirements for New Brunswick children.

The province’s Tory government wants to pass legislation making vaccinations mandatory for children in schools and daycares unless they have a medical exemption. The new rules, to take effect Sept. 1, 2021, were introduced in June amid a measles outbreak in southern New Brunswick.

“This is a question about what is an appropriate step for the government of this province to take in protecting the citizens of this province. That is the discussion that we’re having,” Education Minister Dominic Cardy told the committee.

“What we can say, without hesitation, without qualification, and with a vast, multi-century wealth of evidence to support it, is that getting vaccinated is safer than not getting vaccinated.”

Cardy spent much of his presentation cautioning the committee about false information being spread by vaccination opponents. He said he and other members of the government have received messages in an organized effort to spread misinformation and conspiracies about vaccines.

“People have written to me in the last few months telling me that when you see the contrails coming out behind an airplane flying overhead, that those contrails are actually chemical agents being released by the government in co-ordination with the honourable members around this table, to release poisons into the air that will interact with the vaccines that have been put into our bodies to develop cancer and kill us,” Cardy said. “There is a substantial body of people who believe this.”

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