Provencher MP Ted Falk is standing by comments he made in April regarding vaccines, the federal government’s pandemic response and the media’s role in relaying news regarding COVID-19.
Falk appeared on Conservative Roundup, a right-wing podcast which interviews conservative leaders and politicians across the country. In an April 28 episode Falk spoke with host Aidan Mackey about a multitude of subjects including regaining conservative support, Bill C-10 and the novel coronavirus. Falk’s comments regarding the pandemic were first reported by PressProgress on Aug. 11.
Asked about priorities going into a future election, Falk said the COVID-19 pandemic was top of mind for voters, offering his own skepticism about vaccines and virus data.
"There’s a lot of people that have put a lot of hope in vaccines," Falk said, noting there’s confidence from those thinking if they can "just get the vaccine, they feel then they will be protected and will be safe."
Falk went on to say it was too early in the vaccine rollout to make that assertation, all COVID vaccines were labelled as experimental, and said he wasn’t "completely sold" on vaccinations.
He also went on to accuse media of fear mongering, adding mainstream media avoids reporting on possible side effects from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
"They have this gory image of a virus with these tentacles and they make it seem really scary, and 24/7 they keep pounding that message out to Canadians: be scared of that little red ball with all the spikes, it’s gonna kill you," he said.
"If you look at the data, the chances of surviving, even if you get the virus, under the age of 70 is 99.7 percent. People aren’t looking enough at the data and the statistics."
As of Aug. 16, 68 of people have died due to COVID-19 in Steinbach and the RM of Hanover since the onset of the pandemic as a result of 2,018 infections. As for vaccinations, 45 percent of those eligible in the Hanover region have received one jab while the province as a whole sits at nearly 81 percent.
Falk declined an interview with The Carillon to clarify his comments but provided a written statement on the subject.
"My message throughout COVID-19 has been consistent and clear; protect the vulnerable, get vaccines to every Canadian who wants one, and move swiftly to safely reopen our country for all of us," he said in the statement. "We’ve all altered our lives in considerable ways to buy governments time to respond. These sacrifices have supported a steady decline in hospitalizations since April."
"Unfortunately, media and politicians alike have contributed to a culture of fear around COVID-19 that continues to polarize Canadians rather than unify us in our shared objective to move forward together."
Falk said in his statement he has had questions regarding the virus and vaccines and sought to learn as much as possible to protect his loved ones and community. He also criticized government officials for implementing public health orders without scrutiny.
"Any Member of Parliament who unquestioningly accepts any sweeping political measures has failed to do the job their constituents elected them to do. I will always ask questions and critically examine the actions of government on behalf of those I serve."
When asked to disclose his vaccination status, Falk declined the request.
"Mr. Falk will not be commenting on his personal health decisions," his office wrote in a June 24 statement.