Erin O'Toole doubles down on opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations of federal public servants

The Conservative leader has not issued a fiat requiring his candidates to be immunized

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      The leader of the federal Conservatives has tried to calm the political waters around his position on COVID-19 immunizations.

      Erin O'Toole emphasized in a statement that vaccines are "a safe and effective tool to stop the spread of COVID-19".

      “Canada’s Conservatives have been fighting hard to ensure Canadians have access to vaccines, and to hold the government to account when it dropped the ball," O'Toole said.

      “Canadians want a reasonable and balanced approach that protects their right to make personal health decisions and the need to keep everyone safe."

      While the Liberals are promising mandatory vaccinations for federal civil servants, O'Toole has stopped short of that. Instead, those who aren't vaccinated will be required to pass a "daily rapid test".

      "Vaccines are not a political issue," O'Toole said. "To try and make them one is dangerous and irresponsible.

      “We should be united on this, not divided and Conservatives will not engage in this attempt to drive a wedge between Canadians."

      He also said that a Conservative government "will require unvaccinated Canadian passengers to present a recent negative test result or pass a rapid test before getting on a bus, train, plane, or ship".

      O'Toole has not stated that he will require candidates to be vaccinated.

      A former nominated candidate in the Yukon, Jonas J. Smith, has claimed that he was removed from the slate because of his position on vaccines.

      In a statement, Smith said that it was because he opposed mandated workplace vaccinations and vaccine-passport requirements.

      The People's Party of Canada's leader, Maxime Bernier, has publicly declared that he won't get a COVID-19 vaccine.

      In addition to the PPC, the Conservatives face a challenge in the west from the new Maverick Party, which is fielding 27 candidates.

      Canadians go to the polls on September 20.