Photo: The Canadian Press
A backbench member of Parliament who entered the Conservative leadership race on a promise to trigger an inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic says he’s aware of the “political realities” he faces.
Marc Dalton, a two-term representative from British Columbia who is Métis and speaks French, says he entered the contest because he felt like it was what he needed to do.
“I don’t have $300,000 lined up right now,” he said, referring to fees the party says candidates must pay to enter.
“That can come. I’m hopeful that it will come.”
Before becoming an MP, Dalton was a Liberal MLA in BC He says he’s a political risk-taker and that even putting your name forward “takes guts.”
“It’s not necessarily the front-runner that wins,” he said of the preferential ballot system, which the party uses to select its leaders.
“It’s the second and third choice.”
Dalton announced his candidacy in a short video posted to social media where he appeared in front of an image 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 on the tag line of “A better Canada. Together” — promises to trigger a national inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic to look at spending and what he called “coercive” measures the government used to get people vaccinated.
He also says the probe would look at what government knew about what he referred to as vaccine injuries.
Health experts from around the world say vaccines against the novel coronavirus are safe and the most effective tool at preventing hospitalization.
Health Canada says adverse side-effects can occur, but are rare. It regularly publishes data on the issue and says that of the more than 81 million doses administered to date, there have been around 8,600 reports of side-effects that can be considered serious.
Dalton says concerns about adverse reactions have been brought to his attention by people in the community and that a family member had a bad experience.
Dalton says he experienced side-effects, including difficulty walking, after his first dose. He got his second dose but thing not to get a booster.
“I’ve had enough consequences,” he said.
The MP says he isn’t opposed to vaccination and doesn’t want to promote vaccine hesitancy. He says autoimmune issues run in his family and he had concerns about getting vaccinated, so consulted with his doctor, who recommended he get the shot.
The COVID-19 pandemic features heavily in the campaigns of other candidates. Poilievre has championed that all COVID-19 mandates should end. That has also been called for by Lewis and Independent Ontario MPP Roman Baber, who is running after Ontario Premier Doug Ford booted him from caucus for speaking out against lockdowns.
Asked what made his message on the pandemic different from other candidates, Dalton said he didn’t know, but pointed out he’s the only MP to have spoken about vaccine injuries.
“I didn’t really look at what everyone else said — I just said what I felt was important.”