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Conservative candidates warned: vaccinate or test daily, party email shows

Click to play video: 'Decision Canada: O’Toole breaks silence on COVID-19 rules for CPC candidates' Decision Canada: O’Toole breaks silence on COVID-19 rules for CPC candidates
WATCH ABOVE: Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says he expects all candidates for his party be vaccinated for COVID-19 while on the campaign trail -- or take daily rapid tests, breaking his silence on the matter after days of pressure. But as Abigail Bimman reports, O'Toole is steadfast in his opposition to mandating vaccines. – Aug 18, 2021

Conservative candidates were warned via an official directive Tuesday morning: vaccinate, or take a daily rapid test. But the party did not provide any information about how or whether it will enforce that.

The party shared the “COVID CAMPAIGNING DIRECTIVE” email with reporters, which reads in part, “Our expectation is that anyone campaigning for our party who isn’t vaccinated will pass a daily rapid test.” Local campaigns are responsible for acquiring their own tests, and the email includes some purchase links.

In the early days of the campaign, leader Erin O’Toole dodged repeated questions about mandatory vaccines for candidates.

Read more: Here’s where the major party leaders stand on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination

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O’Toole questioned on mandatory vaccines for his campaign, says ‘reasonable accommodations’ can be made using all options – Aug 15, 2021

At a campaign event in Quebec City Wednesday morning, he said publicly for the first time that he “expects” all candidates to take rapid tests or be vaccinated.

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“Vaccines are safe and effective, and I encourage all Canadians to get them. I’ve said that I expect my team to follow all the public health measures in this Justin Trudeau fourth wave pandemic,” he said.

“That includes expectations with respect to vaccines or an expectation to daily rapid testing if someone is not vaccinated.”

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COVID-19 vaccine to be mandatory for all federal workers – Aug 14, 2021

The email does not lay out any information about any kind of enforcement or monitoring mechanism, and the party could not provide any answers about that.

The general issue of mandatory vaccinations has been high on every campaign radar, with O’Toole being the standout saying he opposes them. Earlier this week he proposed alternatives including rapid testing for Canadians who don’t want a shot.

Speaking on background, a party official couldn’t say how many unvaccinated candidates are on the Conservative team, although they are certain some exist.

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Read more: Notice offering options for federal workers who refuse vaccines was ‘erroneous,' Trudeau says

As for any other potentially unvaccinated volunteers or team members on local campaigns, the source said the messaging is those people should not go door-knocking.

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