Participating in a virtual forum on Wednesday night were federal Abbotsford riding candidates (clockwise from top left) Stephen Fowler (Green Party), Navreen Gill (Liberal), Kevin Sinclair (People’s Party) and Ed Fast (Conservative). (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Participating in a virtual forum on Wednesday night were federal Abbotsford riding candidates (clockwise from top left) Stephen Fowler (Green Party), Navreen Gill (Liberal), Kevin Sinclair (People’s Party) and Ed Fast (Conservative). (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford PPC candidate admits to having COVID in debate; takes aim at vaccine passports

Virtual forum held Wednesday night covers range of topics

An Abbotsford federal election candidate who said vaccine mandates are unconstitutional stated during a virtual all-candidates meeting on Wednesday (Sept. 15) that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Kevin Sinclair, the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidate in the Abbotsford riding, was responding to a panel question about whether there should be a vaccine mandate for federally regulated areas – such as domestic travel on trains and planes – and whether there should be a national vaccine passport.

“I’m in my third day of isolation since testing positive for COVID. I’m treating my symptoms with vitamin C, D … and other supplements. Today is actually my best day so far,” he said.

Sinclair said a study out of Israel indicates that he will now have 14 times the immunity of someone who is fully vaccinated.

He said for the government to force mandates on Canadians who do not want to get vaccinated – “for whatever reason, they deem the right reason for them not to” – is wrong.

“It’s unethical. It’s unconstitutional. It’s actually illegal,” he said.

Sinclair was among more than 500 people who attended a PPC rally at Rotary Stadium on Sept. 4 featuring leader Maxime Bernier, who has publicly stated that he is not vaccinated and is against the use of vaccine passports/cards.

The all-candidates forum on Wednesday night was hosted by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association.

The other candidates who participated were incumbent Ed Fast (Conservative), Navreen Gill (Liberal) and Stephen Fowler (Green Party). NDP candidate Dharmasena Yakandawela did not attend.

A few of the questions focused on post-pandemic recovery and measures such as vaccine mandates and passports.

Fast said he is “appalled” at how Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have allowed these issues to become divisive during the pandemic. He said although vaccines are an “extremely important tool” in the fight against the virus, there are other measures – such as rapid testing – that can be taken.

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“We should not be vilifying each other for the health choices that we make,” he said.

Gill said the Liberals believe that if you want to participate in a community, “you have a responsibility to that community.”

“As a doctor, I can say this: I cannot see another patient gasping for air while begging me for the vaccine when it’s too late,” she said.

Fowler said although he doesn’t believe that vaccines should be mandated, they are important in the fight against COVID-19.

“We are living in weird times, and this thing is only going to get worse … The virus is only going to mutate if people don’t get the vaccines because that’s how it does mutate,” he said.

The candidates also addressed questions on several other topics, including climate change, housing affordability, truth and reconciliation, health-care reform, daycare options and the federal deficit.

On the issue of immigration, Sinclair said the PPC believes in “manageable immigration” – 100,000 to 150,000 new residents each year, compared to the Liberals’ goal of around 400,000 for 2022. He also said priority should be given to refugees and those in persecuted groups.

“We would ensure that every candidate for immigration undergoes a face-to-face interview and answers a series of specific questions to access the extent to which they align with Canadian values and societal norms,” he said.

Fast said reducing immigration levels to those suggested by the PPC would be “devastating” to the economy. He said there is a “significant demographic challenge” as Baby Boomers exit the labour force.

“Who are we back-filing that hole with? It’s going to be done primarily through immigration,” he said.

Fowler agreed, saying that stopping immigration is “not an answer if you want to grow the country.”

“I think we do need to make it easier for people to immigrate here … We’ve always been a country that welcomed people,” he said.

Gill said the Liberals have always believed in immigration as an important factor in economic growth.

“We will continue to work tirelessly. We know that we need to get more talented workers, especially in the health-care sector, so we’ll be creating programs to successfully match those workers. We will be decreasing wait times for processing,” she said.

An all-candidates forum for the riding of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon takes place Thursday evening (Sept. 16) at 6:30 p.m. The link to watch the meeting can be found at abbotsfordchamber.com.

The taped versions of both meetings will be posted on the Chamber of Commerce website.



vhopes@abbynews.com

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