Vaccines continue to dog Canada’s Conservative leader

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FLAMBOROUGH, ONTARIO – Vaccines continue to haunt Canada’s Conservative leaders as he battles for votes in dense Ontario as the clock ticks into election day.

Erin O’Toole started his penultimate day of election at a farmers market without showing up to take one of his last chances to meet potential voters.

This decision reflects the party’s overall campaign strategy, which has relied more on O’Toole answering people’s questions through virtual town halls in a broadcast studio in downtown Ottawa rather than pushing the meat in the local communities.

During a layover near Hamilton, Ontario, O’Toole says he met thousands more people this way and led a safer campaign than the Liberals, where leader Justin Trudeau sometimes showed up in crowded rooms and hospitals.

The Conservative leader again faced questions about his decision not to vaccinate his candidates and did not answer questions today whether he knew how many had their vaccinations.

O’Toole is self-vaccinated and has pledged to appoint a health minister fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but did not say whether he would ask candidates about their vaccination status.

The Conservative leader says vaccines are a safe and important tool in fighting COVID-19 and has instructed unvaccinated members of his team to conduct rapid daily tests.

Also on Saturday, retired Vice Admiral Mark Norman, at the center of a failed prosecution by the Liberal government over a politically heated case that ended his military career, spoke out in support of O’Toole.

In a 59-second video clip shared by the Conservatives on social media, Norman says Canadians will have to make an important decision in the next few days about who will lead the country through the challenges at home and abroad.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 18, 2021.