Tomorrow morning it will be confirmed, but it looks like we’re heading to the 44th general election in Canada, right into the growing teeth of a 4th wave of the COVID pandemic. As a result, this campaign promises to be unlike any other in Canadian history. That means it will also raise different issues and questions that Canadians will have for their parties, with answers that will matter a whole lot, especially if they get them wrong.
Back on Wednesday I pointed to one such question, that should have been a no-brainer to answer. That question revolved around the COVID-19 vaccination status, namely “Are your MPs/Candidates vaccinated and will they be during the campaign?” That was a very fair question to as, when Global News approached all the parties about it earlier in the week. What was amazing was the answer that came, with only the NDP willing to say that all their MPs are vaccinated, and their candidates will be. The fact that the Liberals didn’t have an answer to that question at the time that said “yes, yes and Hell yes!” surprised the heck out of me. Surely, they must have seen that question coming, right? Well, it turns out that CBC also did the rounds asking the same question and this time, the answers came back a bit differently:
The NDP stay strong, and the Liberals got it right on the second time around. But for the other parties, they stick out like a sore thumb, especially for a Conservative Party that claims it’s the only alternative to form government in Canada. Erin O’Toole has even gone so far to fight against mandatory vaccinations for public servants and to be able to fly on inter-provincial flights, stating that “Conservatives support Canadians’ right to determine their own health choices.”
He’s doing that while, amazingly, not requiring that their candidates be vaccinated, but at the same time making it mandatory for all staff and media travelling with O’Toole to be fully vaccinated. Talk about amazingly hypocritical, demanding that those who are around them on the campaign bus be vaccinated, but not demanding the same of his own candidates (who will be interacting with Canadians at their doors and in their homes). It’s not only hypocritical position, but also a contradictory one when you consider something else that happened earlier this week involving the Conservative campaign:
Back on Thursday, Erin O’Toole removed his candidate in the Yukon, Jonas Smith, because of his “unwillingness to support public health guidelines.” Smith himself went further in a statement, saying that his candidacy was disallowed due to his opposition to “calls for implementation of mandated workplace vaccinations and vaccine passport requirements in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Wait a minute, isn’t that pretty much the position that Erin O’Toole himself put out there on Friday when it came to the Liberals pushing for Federal Civil Servants to have mandatory vaccinations.
Remember “Conservatives support Canadians’ right to determine their own health choices”, that was the line, right? Also, are you telling me that it’s okay to be an anti-vax candidate in Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives, but being anti-mask or anti-public health is just a bridge too far? These all seem like amazingly crazy lines in the sand to be drawn, that are not only contradictory but don’t do anything to address the actual problem. Maybe that’s why this piece of news about the Smith case, which went to an appeal yesterday, that came out today is even more gobsmackingly stunning:
Wait, they were “not able to make a final decision on whether Jonas Smith should be reinstated as a Conservative candidate in Yukon or not.” Seriously, they just couldn’t arrive at a decision? I can’t think of a situation where a candidate has been booted for what would be totally legit reasons (and in this case, I believe that opposing public health measures is rock-solid cause for removing this guy) and when an appeal happened that basically the jury came back hung. Where does that leave Smith and the Conservatives in the Yukon? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. It’s quite the stunning sight to see the party both refuse to back the leader (by upholding the removal) and refuse to reinstate the candidate. Insane!
But maybe more importantly, where in the Hell does that leave Erin O’Toole and his leadership. He keeps trying to have his cake and eat it too when it comes to public health measures. But time and again he keeps coming out of it with cake forks jabbed into his own extremities. How in the Hell does it make any sense for the Conservative position to be “You can run for us if you’re anti-vax, but not if you’re anti-public health”, especially when some of the leaders own words contradict that very position within less than 24 hours of it becoming their position? It makes no sense at all, it’s quite unserious and with stuff like that, you can totally understand why Justin Trudeau will be sprinting to the GG, not sauntering, to get this thing going straight away. Sure Trudeau’s team muffed this question on the first try, but at least they got it right the second time. The Conservatives not only keep muffing this question, but they also keep coming up with amazing ways to make it worse and worse as they go along.
All of this leads a strong impression in the minds of Canadians when they think about where this Conservative party is at right now. That impression is of a party that’s not got their own crap together, that’s not serious, that’s not ready to govern and might actually be dangerous to public health if they do manage to form government right now. When trying to defeat any government in an election, you want to make people feel confident in your ability to step in and take over. Over the past 48 hours, the Conservatives seem to be hell bent on proving the absolute opposite of that and folks, they’re succeeding. We’ll see if they ever manage to get their act together when it comes to this literal life and death issue of public health and vaccinations but for the moment, they look like a mess. And that’s something that no amount of screeching and yelling about Justin Trudeau can change, because this is all of their own doing.