From CBC: In the latest chapter of Erin O’Toole’s struggles with members of his caucus who are bolstering anti-vaccine narratives, the Conservative Party leader admitted Monday that recent comments by one of his party’s MPs contributed to “creating confusion” about vaccines and were not “helpful.”
- Last weekend, Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu — a member of a new mini caucus dedicated to speaking on behalf of Canadians who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 — made false claims about polio being more dangerous than COVID-19 during a CBC interview.
During the same interview, Gladu also claimed that vaccine mandates "infringe on people's rights” and suggested that politicians ought to listen to the concerns of anti-vaccine activists.
- On Monday, O’Toole said: “There is a big difference between the work done by MPs for constituents and creating confusion.” He added: “Ms. Gladu's interview yesterday added more questions and I don't think that's helpful.”
As noted by CBC, Gladu is not the first Conservative MP to have recently promoted misinformation and anti-vaccine talking points. MPs Leslyn Lewis and Dean Allison have also argued against the mass vaccination campaigns that experts say are necessary to tackle the virus.
- Asked about the comments made by those MPs, O’Toole said: “It's a great example of why members of Parliament, of all stripes, should let the professionals, the public health officials, the physicians, answer questions about efficacy of vaccines or provincial programs on vaccines.” However, the Tory leader dodged questions about whether the MPs should be booted from caucus.
As reported last week, the Conservative Party has not disclosed how many of its MPs are vaccinated, with some sources suggesting that a “handful” have refused to get the shot.
Read CBC’s full story here.