TORONTO — Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole is defending one of his candidates who visited a long-term care home despite only receiving one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
On Thursday, Michelle Ferreri, the Conservative candidate for Peterborough-Kawartha, tweeted a photo of herself speaking to some constituents at Princess Gardens Retirement Residence in Peterborough, Ont.
On Saturday, O’Toole was asked whether he thought it was acceptable for candidates who weren’t fully vaccinated to meet with potential voters.
“We need to get that vaccination rate up. These are personal decisions but they’re critical decisions,” said O’Toole, during a campaign stop in in Whitby, Ont.
“We also have a campaign rule that people will be using vaccines and daily testing, along with all other masking and distance efforts to keep people safe in a campaign in the fourth wave of a pandemic.”
O’Toole, a vocal supporter for COVID-19 vaccines but who is against vaccine mandates, also doubled down on how important, safe and effective the shots are.
“I encourage everyone to get vaccinated — the first dose and the second dose — and we’re going to need boosters in the coming months,” said O’Toole, before he criticized Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau for calling the federal election during a pandemic.
CTVNews.ca has reached out to Ferreri’s campaign for comment. On Friday, Ferreri’s campaign manager, Mike Skinner, told MyKawartha.com she had only received a single shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, but was undergoing daily rapid tests.
Numerous studies have shown that two doses are most effective at preventing severe outcomes of COVID-19.
When O’Toole was asked a second time if he thought Ferreri’s activity was acceptable, he reiterated that “we will be following all measures, including vaccines, daily rapid testing, masking and social distancing to keep people safe. That’s not only an expectation, it’s a commitment that all members of our team have to keep people safe.”
The Peterborough-Kawartha riding is highly sought after, with Ferreri hoping to oust Liberal incumbent Maryam Monsef. The riding is also a strong bellwether riding with the party who wins the riding going on to form government in all but one election in the past 60 years.