The first few days of Canada’s 44th general election campaign are not only highlighting the differences between party leader’s stances on mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations in this country, but also how voters feel about the issue.
The upshot? Most support some use of either carrot or stick – though more prefer the stick – to increase inoculation rates as a fourth wave of the pandemic threatens to further delay a return to some semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy.
In an early attempt at creating a wedge between himself and Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O’Toole, Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau announced vaccine mandates covering airline and rail travel and federally regulated employees late last week.
Asked in the hours after the writs had dropped for his response, O’Toole demurred, saying he was opposed to mandatory vaccinations, adding he did not view vaccines as a “political issue.”
New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds political divides in how Canadians want to encourage the unvaccinated to change their minds.
While majorities among decided and leaning supporters of all major federal parties support either regulations or incentivization or both to spur higher vaccination levels, the rate of support is lowest among CPC voters (67% vs. 93% for supporters of the Liberals).
The major contrast is among those who say government should do nothing to encourage increased vaccination.
While it is the minority view among supporters of the Liberals and NDP (seven and 12 per cent respectively), this sentiment represents fully one-third of Conservative supporters (33%).