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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.