Tory MPs running for leadership know they face an uphill battle

OTTAWA – A supportive member of Parliament who entered the Conservative Party leadership race on a promise to trigger an investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic says he knows of “political realities” that he has to face.

Marc Dalton, a two-term representative from British Columbia, who is Métis and French-speaking, said he entered the competition because he felt it was what he needed to do.

“I don’t have $300,000 to line up right now,” he said, referring to the fees the party says candidates must pay to get in.

“It can come. I hope that will come.”

Prior to becoming an MP, Dalton was a Liberal MLA in BC. He says he’s a political risk taker and that even getting your name up front is “requiring a liver”.

He said the preferential voting system the party uses to choose its leaders is not necessarily the first to win.

“It’s the second and third options.”

Dalton announced his candidacy in a short video posted to social media, where he appeared in front of a photo of the House of Commons chamber as a backdrop.

He is the fourth MP to enter the race, after Pierre Poilievre, Leslyn Lewis and Scott Aitchison.

In his launch video, Dalton – who is running the slogan “A Better Canada. Together” – promises to trigger a national inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic to look at spending and what he called the “coercive” measures the government used to get people vaccinated.

He also said that the investigation would look into what the government knew about what he called vaccine injuries.

Health experts from around the world say vaccines against the new coronavirus are safe and the most effective tool to prevent hospitalizations.

Health Canada says side effects are possible, but very rare. It regularly publishes data on the matter and says that of the more than 81 million doses used to date, there have been about 8,600 reports of side effects that could be considered serious.

Dalton said that concerns about adverse reactions were brought to his attention by people in the community and that a family member had had a bad experience.

Dalton says he experienced side effects, including difficulty walking, after the first dose of the drug. He got a second dose but didn’t choose a booster shot.

“I’ve had enough of the consequences,” he said.

The MP said he was not against vaccination and did not want to promote vaccine hesitancy. He said that autoimmune problems run in his family and that he was worried about vaccinations, so consulted his doctor, who recommended him to get vaccinated.

The COVID-19 pandemic appears in the campaigns of other candidates. Poilievre championed that all COVID-19 missions must end. That has also been called for by Lewis and Independent Ontario MPP Roman Baber, who are running after Ontario Premier Doug Ford kicked him out of the caucus for speaking out against the lockdown.

Asked what made his message about the pandemic different from other candidates, Dalton said he didn’t know, but pointed out that he was the only MP to have spoken about vaccine trauma.

“I don’t really look at what people say – I just say what I feel is important.”

This Canadian Press report was first published on March 24, 2022.

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