Tory candidate says she ‘misspoke’ in opposing vaccine passports

Conservative candidate Rosemarie Falk says she misspoke when she told an interviewer that her party does not support vaccine passports for entry into or departure from Canada.

She made the comment during an interview with Kurt Price, the community liaison for a Nissan car dealership in Lloydminister, Alta., as she detailed the Conservative Party‘s policies on vaccines. The interview was flagged to Global News by a source from the Liberal Party’s election campaign.

Read more: O’Toole promises to implement national proof of COVID-19 vaccination system

Falk began her answer by saying she does “not support mandatory vaccinations,” despite the fact that no level of government is pursuing such a policy — instead, many are proposing to restrict access to certain non-essential activities or venues for those who choose to remain unvaccinated.

“Same with vaccine passports. We don’t support vaccine passports, you know, to come into Canada or to leave Canada,” Falk said.

In an emailed statement to Global News, she clarified that she “misspoke” during the interview.

“During the interview in question, I misspoke and I’d like to clarify my position,” Falk said.

“To be clear, I believe that international travellers entering Canada should be required to show proof of vaccination, and I believe that Canadians should be required to confirm their vaccination status to determine quarantine requirements.”

Click to play video: 'Ontario officials outline exemptions ahead of COVID-19 vaccine passport rollout' 2:14 Ontario officials outline exemptions ahead of COVID-19 vaccine passport rollout

Ontario officials outline exemptions ahead of COVID-19 vaccine passport rollout

During the interview, Falk also said that O’Toole would “work with Health Canada,” to ensure Canadians have what they need, should they wish to travel to another country that requires proof of vaccination.

Read more: ‘Vaccine passport’ or ‘immunization record’? Why experts say there’s power in words

O’Toole shared the pledge with Canadians during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., in early September. He said he would work with provinces to devise a national proof-of-vaccination system, adding that such a setup would help Canadians during international travel.

“We’ve launched a number of measures that the federal government can use to do our part. The provinces have a series of systems of proof of vaccination, QR codes, vaccine passports,” he said at the time.

“We will respect what the provinces are doing, partner with them to make sure that we have that for foreign travelling by Canadians.”

The Conservative leader also said he wants 90 per cent of eligible residents to be vaccinated against COVID-19 — and promised to cover the cost of time off for employees to get a shot, free transportation to vaccine clinics and a national booster shot strategy that would initially target seniors and the immunocompromised.

Click to play video: 'Vaccination cards to be available for Albertans to print off this week' 1:11 Vaccination cards to be available for Albertans to print off this week

Vaccination cards to be available for Albertans to print off this week

However, his promise has come under fire from his political opponents.

“Erin O’Toole just said he expects that he would be able to get 90 per cent of Canadians vaccinated in the coming months. He can’t even get 90 percent of his candidates vaccinated, come on,” Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said in a Sept. 7 campaign stop.

It’s not clear how many Conservative candidates are vaccinated as the party has not released those numbers.

Trudeau has said Ottawa would certify provincial vaccine passports to work on a national scale — but that it could take a year to create the full federal program.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has also called for a national system and has criticized Trudeau for not implementing one sooner.

Vaccine documentation is not a new concept when it comes to international travel. A yellow fever vaccine is required for anyone travelling to countries such as Venezuela, Congo and Panama.

In most provinces in Canada, schools will also require a child’s immunization record before allowing them to attend classes, barring medical or philosophical exemption.

–with files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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