The Herald asked the candidates running for the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding in the federal election the following question: “What do you believe is the next most important step to ending the current pandemic, and what can be done to prevent another one?” Below are their responses.

Dan Albas, Conservative Party (Incumbent)

In my view it cannot be emphasized enough the importance of vaccination. We are currently in a situation where 80% of those in the hospital due to COVID are individuals who are not vaccinated.

Aside from vaccines we must use every other tool available including rapid testing, PCR tests, washing hands, social distancing, use of personal protective equipment and more. We must take this seriously and work together in the interests of public safety.

As for prevention of future pandemics there must be several measures implemented. Canada’s pandemic early warning system that was shut down by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government must be reactivated. Canadas stockpiles of PPE that was also allowed to dwindle under the Trudeau Liberal Government must have sufficient supply of PPE on hand to protect our medical community in a pandemic.

We also need a government that is better prepared. Our borders must be immediately shut down with any country that reports a virus outbreak. When news first came out of Wuhan about the COVID virus, and some countries like Taiwan and South Korea were immediately closing their borders to China. Back at home we witnessed this this Liberal Government refusing to do so proclaiming border restrictions were essentially ineffectual or racist. 

Ultimately, we need a federal Government to be better prepared and to take Pandemics more seriously, instead we see Justin Trudeau attempting to use a pandemic as a political opportunity to spend $610 million calling an election because he believes he deserves a majority. 

A Conservative Government takes this pandemic very seriously and that it is why we have a recovery plan to secure our future and lead Canada out of this pandemic.

Sarah Eves, Liberal Party

 The Liberal government worked hard to secure an ample supply of vaccines. This was done when there were threats of vaccine nationalism and vaccine export controls. Canadians stepped up, by the millions, to protect themselves and their communities, and got vaccinated. 

To finish the fight against covid, we need to do more. Everyone who can get vaccinated, should get vaccinated. A Liberal government will continue to encourage people to get vaccinated by ensuring vaccination across the public service. We will work with Crown corporations and federally regulated workplaces to get their employees vaccinated. We will make it easier for the provinces to roll out proof of vaccination programs, by launching a $1 billion fund to implement their proof of vaccine credential programs. Importantly, we will pass legislation that will protect all businesses and organizations who require a proof of vaccination from the fear of lawsuits. 

No one wants to go through another pandemic. Many experts have said that to stop future pandemics we need to stop the destruction of nature. The Liberals have an extensive climate change program to help restore the planet and will plant 2 billion trees. We will work with our international partners to halt and reverse nature loss to ensure the world protects intact nature. We will help curb the illegal wildlife trade. 

And if another pandemic occurs, Canada will be ready to battle it. In May 2018 we invested $200 million to expand an existing manufacturing and research plant to provide made-in-Canada vaccines and treatments. We will be less dependent on foreign vaccine makers. Not only is this a good step to ensure the future health of Canadians, but will create 500 permanent jobs. 

Joan Phillip, New Democratic Party

I believe what the scientists and experts tell us. The next most important step to end the current pandemic is for all those who can to be vaccinated. If you were to replace your roof, you would go to a roofer. If you were to fix a fried cable in your house, you’d call an electrician. I believe in trusting the folks who have spent their life’s work understanding a certain subject matter. Social media is causing much disinformation and it’s truly harmful to our social fabric. I believe the Federal Government has an active role in addressing this. In terms of what can be done to prevent another one, many diseases, including the coronavirus in some ways, are caused by a worsening ecological and climate crisis and I believe strongly that if mother earth is not well, we will not be well. To prevent another pandemic we also need fully developed and resourced pandemic response plans at the federal, provincial, municipal and First Nations government level, to ensure we have the vaccine making capacity at home to combat it. This technology should be public and not private, as the Liberals suggest, as I believe this expertise is a public good.  

Brennan Wauters, Green Party

The pandemic might be a climate instability indicator; the verdict is still out because such an impactful global event has not been sufficiently examined and studied to make conclusions. Such events on a global scale are difficult to track and understand. Many people who want answers want them now but that should not discount the fact that there is still much we don’t know. The pandemic has brought focus to the issues we should have been addressing long in advance of a pandemic: equality. The Green Party is the only party calling for a guaranteed livable income and we feel such a move on the part of the federal government would have far reaching benefits for women and children, income inequality, health, housing and future work opportunities. A more equitable society on all levels provides the foundation to tackle other daunting and perhaps more pervasive challenges such as climate change. The Green Party is discussing the “work” we must do, not simply the concept of jobs. For example, there is work to do to rebuild Lytton, there is work to do to upgrade our region and riding to FireSmart standards, there is work to do to educate people on environmental and ecological methods to abate the coming onslaught of climate emergency events particularly in agriculture and the energy sector. There is work to do to educate people about the hydrological cycle and what our region needs to do to retain both our agriculture and tourism. But all of this must be couched in the principles of democracy and equality. The idea of cross-party collaboration has been a cornerstone of the Green Party long before any of the mainstream parties considered such benefits for social and political improvements. Again, unflinching, the Green Party knows that democratic reform in the form of proportional representation provides the framework for non-partisan cooperation to tackle our most acute problems instead of pretending to do so. Collaboration, equality, and consensus making is preventative for not only the pandemic but the assurance that our collective future for generations can thrive.

Kathryn McDonald, People’s Party of Canada

This is a very good question.  It should be clear by now that we have politics masquerading as medicine.  By ignoring the real data, and by suppressing traditional and effective treatments that have been around for 30 to 70 years, those in the political establishment have overplayed their hand.

 When Hitler said, “Tell a lie that is big enough, and tell it often enough, then the people will believe it!”  he was completely congruent with what we are currently experiencing. 

 The globalists who control the three traditional parties have some kind of power over our politicians. They are forcing them to make decisions that are not defendable in either the legal court system or in the court of public opinion.  People are NOT going to accept an unproven, untested, and clearly toxic injection.  People are NOT going to accept Nazi style “show me your papers” in order to travel freely around this country.  

 So to answer the question directly, I say we need to hold everyone accountable for pushing a rogue agenda upon the population and for running a scare campaign with the assistance of globalist media.  Most politicians, by now have been given their “Notice of Liability” and will eventually face prosecution for their actions.  It is time we held politicians accountable.