Local candidates share views on mandatory jabs

September 3, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

With campaigning underway after Justin Trudeau called for an early federal election on August 15, MP candidates in Dufferin-Caledon are focused on September 20, the day Canadians will head to the polls.

The Citizen spoke with Dufferin-Caledon MP candidates Kyle Seeback (Conservative), Lisa Post (Liberal), and Jenni Le Forestier (Green) about their thoughts on COVID-19 vaccine policies as Canada reopens.

Though he’s a supporter of vaccinations, Seeback says he doesn’t believe they should be mandatory for Canadians, and that the choice should fall to each individual.

“I’m 100 per cent with where Erin (O’Toole) and the Conservative Party’s position is on vaccine policies, which is, vaccines are safe and effective and I encourage everyone to get a vaccine,” he said. “I’m vaccinated myself, but I don’t think that we should be forcing people to get vaccines.”

As for whether or not policies should be in place that could stop the unvaccinated from attending events or businesses, Seeback says that’s a decision that should be made by each business and that proof of a negative test could be utilized as an alternative to the vaccine.

“I think (vaccine policy) decisions will be made by companies and places like that, and they’re free to make those decisions,” he said. “I’ve heard that to attend a Blue Jays’ game, you’re going to have to have proof of vaccination—companies are free to make those decisions. I do think that in substitute for being able to show you’re double vaccinated, a negative rapid test would be sufficient. I do believe the Liberals are trying to turn this into an us vs. them issue and pit Canadians against each other, I don’t want to do that, there are solutions to all these things. Yes, I think people should get vaccinated, the alternative to that is rapid tests that can quickly show a negative result. I think that should be a good alternative to showing your vaccine status.”

As for Post, she is adamant that each Canadian should get vaccinated if the country is to return to normal and fully reopen. To her it’s not a political question, but a question of health and safety.

“When it comes to vaccine policies, I think we have to apply the same principles that we’ve applied the whole way through the pandemic which is, we need to trust the science,” she said. “When it comes to public health crisis’, it shouldn’t be politicized, we have to trust the science and the doctors who are telling us how to get through this pandemic. What the science is saying right now is the way to get through this pandemic is for everyone to get vaccinated.

“That’s the only way we can keep Canadians safe, it’s the only way we can make sure we don’t burden the hospitals. I know it can be a bit of a polarizing topic and it can turn into pro-choice type topic, and it’s absolutely still a choice. Canadians want to have the choice not to be vaccinated, and that’s fair, however, there’s consequences to those choices as well because those who did do their civic duty and got vaccinated have the right to know they’re partaking in activities that are safe and to know they’re in a place that they can trust that they’re safe and can protect their families.”

Until the entire population is vaccinated, Post says she thinks people who are able to get vaccinated need to for the safety of those who are not yet eligible, especially with the return of school in the fall.

“The biggest gap right now is that we need to protect our young people, those under the age of 12 that aren’t eligible for vaccines right now are the ones we need to make sure we’re keeping safe. If we’re not able to keep them safe, then we’re going to stay in this pandemic far longer than any of us want to. I think it’s a no-brainer that there will be travel passports that are required, especially internationally. We’ll need to make the vaccines mandatory for workers in the federal sector—specifically transportation and areas where lots of Canadians will be at the same time. We need to keep Canadians safe; we have a duty. We’re human and we have a duty to take care of one another and this is one way to do that.”

Le Forestier says she believes everyone needs to get vaccinated if Canadians want to return to some semblance of normal and she sees the FDA’s approval of Pfizer as a step towards reaching the unvaccinated.

“I’m fully vaccinated, my team is fully vaccinated,” she said. “I follow the science and I encourage people to get vaccinated if they can. I’m really happy to hear that Pfizer has been approved and I hope that will address some people’s concerns about it. Looking forward I hope to see that increases the number of people who are fully vaccinated. I think we need to be cognizant of everyone’s sensitivities and sensibilities and take care of one another.”

Needing to show proof of vaccination is something Le Forestier would support to ensure Canadians are healthy and safe as businesses and school return in full force.

“I grew up in the 70s and 80s when we all had vaccine cards,” she said. “If you were going to school, you had a vaccine card and that doesn’t seem foreign to me as an idea. Obviously, we need to protect people’s rights, but we’re also in a crisis right now and that’s a very simple regulation to have a vaccine card that you carry. If you choose not to, then you’re going to have to do the testing and follow protocols to keep people safe because we have to get people back to work and kids back to school.”

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