Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal government launched public relations blitz, aimed at pressuring provinces into adopting mandatory vaccination policies.
Not only is this a massive attack on civil liberties, but also it is also complete departure from the current federal policy. Just eight months ago Trudeau himself stated, “we’re not a country that makes vaccination mandatory.”
It’s also unprecedented in Canadian history. Our country has seen dozens of infectious disease outbreaks over the past century, but has never resorted to mandatory vaccination. As the National Post pointed out last week, “Even when Canada became one of the world’s first countries to eradicate polio through vaccination, it was done entirely through voluntary immunization.”
The fact is mandatory vaccination won’t accomplish much. Nearly 90 per cent of Albertans have already received a vaccination, and the current strain of the Covid virus circulating in our province is far less severe than previous variants.
Jason Kenney, for what it’s worth, stated opposition to the mandatory vaccination of Albertans, “it is ultimately a personal choice that individuals must make.”
But, as Albertans have learned, it’s not like you can take any of this Premier’s promises to the bank. At the Calgary Stampede last summer, Kenney stated, “We’ve been very clear from the beginning that we will not facilitate or accept vaccine passports.” Three months later he was doing everything in his power to impose QR-code based passports in lockstep with Trudeau’s federal government. There is currently no end date in sight for Kenney and Trudeau’s new, “show me your papers,” requirements, and no vote in the Legislature was ever held.
The similarities between Trudeau’s and Kenney’s policies don’t end there. While Trudeau spent much of last fall slapping vaccine mandates on federal workers and federally regulated industries, Kenney did nothing to discourage mandates imposed by Alberta’s municipalities and post secondary institutions. Meanwhile his government threatened the jobs of provincial employees and healthcare workers who dared to exercise their constitutionally protected rights. Furthermore, Trudeau and Kenney have both gone out of their way to vilify unvaccinated citizens for spreading the virus, when the science clearly shows that the current 90 per cent vaccination rate is doing nothing to prevent the spread of Omicron.
I am now hearing from a growing number of constituents worried that Kenney will inevitably flip-flop on mandatory vaccination. Recent history has shown they are right to be concerned. Truly conservative-minded Albertans trust and respect our fellow citizens to make the right choices for their families and communities. When it comes to coercing and imposing vaccinations on Albertans, Kenney does not. He is much more ideologically in tune with the government-knows-best dictates of Justin Trudeau.
At the end of the day, can we really expect Kenney to protect Albertans’ freedom to choose, when he has demonstrated no respect for the decisions Albertans make?
In my opinion, he has done nothing to earn such trust, and done everything to break it.
Drew Barnes, Cypress/Medicine Hat MLA