Politics

iPolitics AM: O’Toole hits the Hill media circuit to deliver Conservative response to latest COVID-19 developments

In the wake of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s  latest on-camera briefing on surging COVID case counts — during which he emphasized the ongoing risk posed by those who “continue to choose to not get vaccinated” —  Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is set to hit the Hill media circuit this afternoon to make the case that Trudeau is “normalizing lockdowns because he didn’t do his job.” (1 PM)

In a tweet posted yesterday afternoon that will undoubtedly serve as a template for his mid-afternoon media availability, O’Toole contends that “Canadians deserve better than lockdowns and Zoom school,” and notes that “Canadians isolated, got vaccinated” and “sacrificed … it’s Trudeau who failed.”

As per the Star, he also posted a video message to Facebook, in which he asserted that the federal government “has been unable to get enough rapid tests, do effective contact tracing or find ways to offer urgently needed support to hospitals that face a surge in demand for spaces in their intensive care units,” and, as a result, is “forcing the country to only use lockdowns as the key measure” when it “should be the last resort.”

But while O’Toole may be hoping to redirect public anger and frustration over the return of more stringent provincial public health restrictions towards his federal Liberal rival, he should also be ready to defend his own party’s past reluctance to impose mandatory vaccination requirements on caucus members.

He may also face a fresh round of questions on the Conservative caucus’s opposition to reinstating provisions for hybrid House proceedings, which will allow MPs to participate via video when regular parliamentary programming resumes later this month.

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Regular parliamentary proceedings are scheduled to resume on Jan. 31, 2022.

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