Minister lashes out at O’Toole after he argued for ‘reasonable accommodations’ for unvaccinated

A day after Erin O’Toole essentially blamed the federal government for the recurring COVID-19 lockdowns that have robbed Canadians of a sense of normalcy, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of Canada, Dominic LeBlanc, lashed out at the Conservative Leader, accusing him of selfishly putting his political aspirations ahead of the health of Canadians.

On Thursday, O’Toole argued that “reasonable accommodations” should be made for people who refuse to be vaccinated and that Justin Trudeau’s government should have done a better job securing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Rapid Antigen Tests to prevent punitive lockdown measures.

“That doesn’t mean I don’t think that people shouldn’t be vaccinated,” O’Toole said Thursday. “It means we have to deal with the reality of the fact that there will be a small number unvaccinated.”

That small number shouldn’t shut down society, O’Toole argued, saying if enough rapid tests were available, the unvaccinated could be accommodated while keeping public health intact and businesses open.

On Friday, LeBlanc said O’Toole’s stance is out-of-touch and dangerous.

“At a time when our health care system is under stress, Mr. O’Toole is encouraging people to do things that are adding to that pressure and that will continue to put Canadians and our health care workers at increased risk,” he said.

LeBlanc criticized O’Toole for not supporting mandatory vaccination policies, saying they are the key to climbing out of the COVID abyss.

“Almost two years into this pandemic, it’s hard to believe that Mr. O’Toole just doesn’t get it — vaccines work. And vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic.”

“That’s why we put in place mandatory vaccine requirements for federally regulated workplaces and for people wanting to travel by airplane or train. But Mr. O’Toole won’t support these requirements and he won’t even ensure that his own members of Parliament and Senators are vaccinated.”

LeBlanc further accused O’Toole of pandering for political gain.

“Mr. O’Toole seems once again more focused on his own job and appeasing members of his own party than supporting Canada’s health care workers. On top of that he opposed supports … through the federal wage subsidy.”

“His lack of leadership would only force more lockdowns and put Canadians at greater risk.”

Earlier this week, the federal government announced that 140 million more rapid tests are being delivered to provinces and territories. Last month, 35 million tests were doled out.

Canada added 43,148 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday as the Omicron variant continues to spread.

Almost 2.5 million Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 30,584 have died.

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