On Parliament Hill

Provinces Should Say “No” To Mandatory Vaccination Conversation

  • Ted Falk, Author
  • Member of Parliament, Provencher

Late last week, Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos further stoked the fires of vaccine division.

In the same week video footage surfaced of the Prime Minster calling the unvaccinated “anti-science”, “misogynists” and “racists” and asking how long we as a country would “tolerate” them, Minister Duclos expressed his view that it was time for Provinces to start the conversation about whether to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for all Canadians.

To be clear, Minister Duclos was not saying this was imminent – though he did signal he felt it was time for the conversation to take place. Simply, that he believed the conversation was imminent and that Provinces would need to make that call.

However, it was what else he said that prompted the writing of this piece.

“What we see now is that our health care system in Canada is fragile, our people are tired, and the only way that we know to get through COVID-19, this variant and any future variant, is through vaccination.”

Vaccines are an important tool in our fight against COVID-19, but to say they are the “only way” out is as ignorant as it is inflammatory.

From early in the fight against COVID-19, Conservatives have advocated for rapid tests as an alternative for those who do not feel comfortable getting vaccinated. Is it a permanent solution? No. But based on the current case and hospitalization numbers, and the ever-increasing number of shots required to be “fully vaccinated”, it would appear that the vaccines may not be the “be all and end all” they were advertised to be, either.

In the same way, more and more health experts are advocating against lockdowns, many countries recognize natural immunity from COVID-19 antibodies, as an equivalent to vaccination. Other doctors are recommending focusing on treatment options. In short, there’s more than just one option.

Perhaps the federal government is advocating vaccines so strongly to cover up for the fact that, despite pushing hundreds of billions of dollars out the door to “fight COVID”, they have doggedly refused to increase money for healthcare. This is key. It is clear our healthcare infrastructure cannot handle a pandemic, but the provinces cannot increase ICU capacity or medical personnel because the one thing this Liberal Government refuses to spend money on is healthcare.

If we are truly treating COVID-19 as a “war footing”, why are we not focussing our efforts and spending on healthcare instead of funding lockdowns? If our system is so fragile and overwhelmed, why do the Liberals refuse to spend the money to fix it?

As to mandatory vaccination, I have been clear from day one. Every Canadian who wants to be vaccinated should have access and those who choose not to should not be discriminated against, or coerced in any way. To that end, I must commend the stance of my friend and former colleague the Hon Jason Kenny. Last year, the Alberta legislature removed the power to make vaccines mandatory from the Alberta Public Health Act.

As he said in a tweet earlier this month:

“While we strongly encourage those who are eligible to get vaccinated, it is ultimately a personal choice that individuals must make.” Likewise, Premier Scott Moe in Saskatchewan.

I certainly hope Manitoba will follow suit.

When the conversation comes along, Provinces need to say “no” to mandatory vaccinations, and the federal government needs to, finally, say “yes” to increasing health transfers.

This government’s tunnel vision, and the Prime Minister’s vitriolic language – which many would consider “hate speech” – is stoking division, hurting our economy, and, ultimately, costing lives.

Let’s use all the tools in our toolbox so we can rebuild unity, fully restart our economy, and, ultimately, save lives.