The leaders of the political parties in two western Canadian provinces say there are differences between how their election campaigns are operating compared to the United States after President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
The leaders of the political parties in Saskatchewan and British Columbia say precautions are being taken because of COVID-19.
In both provinces, the parties are campaigning among smaller groups or taking their political pitches online instead of holding large rallies.
B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan says it is still possible to run an effective campaign, even during a pandemic.
Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe says there are big differences between the campaign in the province and the presidential election south of the border.
For example, Moe says he isn't using planes to get around Saskatchewan as he travels by truck.
"And of course, in Saskatchewan, there are quite simply a lot fewer active cases today than just about anywhere you would travel through the U.S.," he said Friday in Moose Jaw.
"So just like everyone else in the province, we are being cautious. We are doing everything that we can to protect ourselves, to protect our families and to protect all of those around us.”
Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili, who is also a family doctor, said staying safe on the campaign trail for the Oct. 26 election was already on the minds of those in the party before Trump's positive test.
"This does remind us that it is something to take serious as we're trying to do a campaign," he said in Regina
"We're being as safe as possible."
When Horgan called the Oct. 24 election in B.C., he spoke about how he struggled with the decision because of the pandemic.
Trump's positive test drives home the need to be careful, he added.
"It reinforces how we're campaigning and of course my concern goes out to all of those that have been in contact with the president and his entourage over the past number of weeks," he said in Squamish.
"But I think the contrast is fairly obvious. Our campaign, and I believe the other parties who are campaigning right now, are totally focused on a COVID-friendly campaign, we're not seeing large gatherings, we're always wearing our masks, we're physical distancing, hand hygiene is absolutely fundamental."
Horgan said he is also campaigning on his computer and spoke to groups of 100 people in different parts of the province on Thursday, which shows it can be done "without the glitz and the glamour of big rallies and people waving signs, and so on."
Horgan said the campaign is broken into small working groups, which has even separated family members. He mentioned twin brothers who are working in separate groups and can't see each other during the campaign.
"We're very tight," he said.
In Merritt, B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, who has worked as a doctor, said his campaign is being cautious as well.
He drives in a separate vehicle with one other person and uses a mask when he is not on camera. Staff are also being kept in small working groups to prevent transmission of COVID-19 between those working on the campaign.
"This is our duty ... to make sure that we are maintaining a healthy working environment through the campaign."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2020.
The Canadian Press