Editor's note: Ahead of the Sept. 20 federal election, OrilliaMatters contacted the five candidates in Simcoe North, asking each to answer, in 200 words or less, five key questions. In Part 2 of our 5-part series, candidates weigh in on the controversial topic of vaccine passports. Tomorrow, the candidates will be asked about Indigenous issues. For more information about the local election race, visit our CanadaVotes 2021 page.
Question: As we brace for a fourth wave of the pandemic and a more aggressive Delta variant, many are suggesting Canada should embrace a vaccine passport. What is your view on this?
Answer from Conservative candidate Adam Chambers:
The facts are clear: getting vaccinated protects you, your family and your community. Those who are in hospital and in ICU are more likely than not unvaccinated.
I believe Canadians should review the facts, talk to their trusted healthcare providers and get the vaccine. Additionally, in order to travel internationally, some foreign governments are requiring Canadians to show proof of vaccination.
It is important for our government to engage with foreign governments to ensure Canadians have the ability to resume international travel safely along with the rest of the world.
Answer from NDP candidate Janet-Lynne Durnford:
I am personally pro-science, pro-vaccine, and pro-vaccine passport. The federal government needs to take leadership to create and administer an easy-to-use, accessible proof of vaccine document that can be used here in Canada and when travelling internationally.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has called on Justin Trudeau to make specific commitments to have vaccine passports and mandatory vaccinations for federally-regulated industries in place by Labour Day.
Jagmeet also called on Justin Trudeau to take further action to get more Canadians vaccinated, including:
- A mandatory vaccination deadline for federal public servants and workers in federally-regulated industries by Labour Day.
- Paid leave for workers in federally-regulated workplaces to get vaccinated.
- Support from federal staff to bolster provinces’ efforts to get vaccines to people who face barriers.
Answer from Green Party candidate Krystal Brooks:
My view on vaccine passports is both respectful to the individuals right to their bodies while, also carefully considering those who see vaccines as an important combatant measure in fighting this pandemic and the imminent threat of a forth wave approaching.
I have a son who has a compromised immune system and I am fearful of the thought of him possibly going back to school if his teachers are not vaccinated. I believe essential workers should be fully vaccinated.
If an essential worker chooses not to vaccinate, I feel they are entitled to the right to consent to what happens to their bodies but, the safety of those around them needs to be a factor in this decision and respect must be given to those who do not wish to put their loved ones at risk.
Unfortunately, vaccine passports, whether they are enforced or not, will not appease everyone. With that in mind, I will state I believe vaccine passports should be mandatory for essential workers to decrease the spread and if one chooses not to vaccinate, they are choosing to risk the safety of those they work with.
Answer from People's Party of Canada (PPC) candidate Stephen Makk:
PPC is resolutely against vaccine passports and would cut funding to any provinces that attempt to implement them.
Vaccination is a personal medical choice that is between a citizen and their doctor, and nobody else’s business. People are free to choose to be vaccinated and free to wear a mask if they wish. They must also be free to choose otherwise.
Basic freedoms are supreme, and not to be curtailed, regardless of how noble and scientific the intentions of those who wish to infringe them.
Answer from Liberal candidate Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux:
I believe we are heading into uncertain territory if we refuse to take a stand on this important matter as an entire society. A vaccine passport will make it possible for the economy to reopen, for people to travel and health-care workers to attend to their duties without question.
We have seen the devastation this virus and its variants can cause. There is a plethora of misinformation and outright lies about the vaccine in the media and online.
All vaccines have been new at one time, and our science has markedly advanced over the last century and even though the development time may appear shorter, these vaccines have also been in development for a significant amount of time.
However, I don’t believe we can take away choice. If people choose to not get the vaccine, we can accept that, but they must accept that it will restrict their ability to travel, perhaps to get certain kinds of care, and possibly affect their children’s ability to attend school.
Those decisions are not in the federal government’s hands. There are going to be the purview of municipal, provincial, and scholastic and academic institutions.