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Kootenay-Columbia candidates weigh in on vaccine rules

Kootenay-Columbia’s 2021 Federal Election candidates offered their opinions on whether or not COVID-19 vaccines should be mandatory and their thoughts on vaccine cards or passports.

Rana Nelson – Green Party

Green Party candidate Rana Nelson said she supports getting vaccinated, but stopped short of saying they should be legally required.

“I encourage vaccinations for anyone who is able to get them,” said Nelson. “We, as in the Green Party, are not going to force vaccines. We want each person to make that decision for themselves. I understand vaccine hesitancy, and we also know that masks are effective at bringing down the number of cases.”

Nelson noted that the Green Party does not have a plan to implement any national vaccine passports at this time.

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More: Rana Nelson representing Green Party in Kootenay-Columbia (Aug 23, 2021)

Robin Goldsbury – Liberal Party

Robin Goldsbury, representing the federal Liberals, said getting vaccinated is a personal choice, but one that should be informed by facts.

“We can’t afford an approach that denies science and peddles disinformation on public health. We’re putting our children at risk when we are not looking at what the science and the evidence are telling us we should be doing. If people don’t want to get a vaccine, that’s fine, that’s their right, but there are consequences,” explained Goldsbury.

That said, Goldsbury said the Liberals do not plan on putting a national vaccine passport in place for the time being, but acknowledged that public health officials have kept track of what vaccines people get. That said, she noted that Canada cannot dictate if other countries implement vaccine requirements.

“This is not a new concept, and the fact is, there are a number of nations that require vaccines before you go into them. This whole concept is not anything new and it’s something that has been in place for some time now,” said Goldsbury.

More: Robin Goldsbury hoping to take MP position for the Liberal Party (Aug 19, 2021)

Wayne Stetski – NDP

The NDP’s Kootenay-Columbia candidate, Wayne Stetski said his party also has no plans to mandate vaccines for all citizens. However, he said some businesses and sectors should be allowed to make vaccine requirements for their employees, such as mandating them for federal and hospital workers.

“You can’t make it mandatory, that’s really impossible to do. If you are in a public service job and you are dealing with people all the time, making that mandatory or at least making mandatory testing on a frequent basis, mask-wearing, all kinds of additional supports if you’re not vaccinated can and should be required,” said Stetski.

While Stetski agreed with other candidates that residents should get vaccinated if they can, he differs from them in that he feels a vaccine card or passport would be a good idea.

“If you have a vaccination passport and someone asks you for it, there it is,” said Stetski. “A little passport makes a lot more sense, it makes it a lot easier for us to move around and makes it easier for whoever is looking for the information to get a sense of comfort that we are indeed vaccinated.”

More: NDP seeking to retake Kootenay-Columbia with Wayne Stetski (Aug 24, 2021)

Rob Morrison – Conservative Party

Conservative Party candidate and incumbent Rob Morrison said he does not support legally required vaccines in most spaces, but, like the other candidates, encourages the public to get their shot.

“I do support vaccinations when necessary, if for example in health care and in operating rooms where they will want people to be vaccinated. But they can also accomplish that goal with a rapid test to make sure people are negative going into places like a hospital, for example,” said Morrison.

Morrison does not feel that vaccine passports or cards are something residents should need to get around the country.

“I believe there are other avenues to go down if someone chooses not to be vaccinated,” said Morrison. “Internationally, of course, it would depend on the country you’re travelling to. If they say you have to be vaccinated, that’s their rule. But here, I don’t agree with a vaccine passport for Canadians travelling in Canada.”

More: Rob Morrison looks to keep MP position (Aug 18, 2021)

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