For those of us fed up with the Covid era and its accompanying unscientific restrictions and mandates, it was delightful to see Americans rip off their masks mid-flight after a Federal Court judge nullified Joe Biden’s mask mandate last week.
In true Canadian fashion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra quickly snuffed out any hope that Canada might soon follow suit.
"Masks are proven to provide additional layers of protection and we will continue to follow the advice of our public health experts," Alghabra said. “I take no joy in these regulations except to know they are done to protect everyone’s health and safety.”
I don’t quite buy the bit about not taking joy in it – certainly not when it comes to the vaccine mandate for air and rail travel, the promise of which was an applause line for Trudeau at his campaign rallies last fall.
Even the most lockdown-happy provinces have done away with their vaccine passports, and most with their mask mandates too. How is their science so vastly different from the federal government’s?
If an unmasked, unvaccinated person can safely eat in a Toronto or Vancouver restaurant a table over from a vaccinated person, surely they could work in the next cubicle over without issue too.
Not so, according to the feds, who laid off thousands of public servants last year for no other reason than vaccination status. Even those who worked from home were turfed, which illustrates how the policy was always meant to punish the unvaccinated rather than fulfill some lofty public health objective.
The removal of most provincial restrictions has made things good enough for some people that they’re content to accept a compromise on normal. Perhaps it’s Stockholm syndrome. Perhaps it’s just resignation that the situation is unlikely to improve with so many voices calling for more restrictions. You know, just to err on the side of caution.
Don’t be deceived into thinking life is practically back to normal. We’re far from it, especially for the unvaccinated.
With the United States’ indefinite extension of its land border vaccine mandate this week, an unvaccinated Canadian is effectively trapped in the Great White North, unable to drive south of the 49th parallel and barred from flying, even to a destination with no vaccine requirements for entry (of which there are dozens).
Sure, you could technically swim across the Atlantic and hope to wind up at Galway or something. Maybe you could take a ferry to Newfoundland then canoe to St. Pierre et Miquelon to catch a direct Air France flight to Paris.
These alternatives notwithstanding, unvaccinated Canadians continue to be denied their constitutional right to exit the country, something I suspect they’ve grown ever more motivated to do the longer this pandemic theater persists.
The government has given no indication about when it plans to lift these mandates. Not even so much as offering up whatever metric will inform such a decision.
I can only assume that’s because no such metric exists. At least not one that would competently answer the questions “Why now?” and “Why not months ago?”
It’s hard to envision how ‘the science’ will one day support getting rid of mandates that were never scientific to begin with.
Vaccines have not prevented the spread of the latest variants and subvariants, which is why a population that’s 90 per cent vaccinated is still, according to Dr. Theresa Tam and company, in the midst of a “sixth wave.”
If vaccination has little to do with stopping the spread and is simply about reducing your own risk of death or severe illness, there’s no justification to require it for travelling or working.
To pull back now, Trudeau would have to admit he was wrong, and that’s about as likely as me making that trans-Atlantic swim to Europe.
Unless, that is, it’s not about the science at all.
Trudeau has made his disdain for the unvaccinated quite clear in the past, notably during last year’s election when he called them extremists and misogynists. He doubled down as the Freedom Convoy was en route to Ottawa, infamously calling truckers opposed to vaccine mandates a “fringe minority” with “unacceptable views.”
Not even the disruptive and nonsensical vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers – the policy that sparked the convoy – has been lifted. In fact, the only recent easing of federal restrictions came last week when the Trudeau government announced people will no longer have to mask in public 14 days after entering the country.
It was a rule few knew existed and even fewer followed, but made for a nice crumb to throw the peasants I suppose.
For a year, Trudeau has been telling Canadians at every opportunity to get vaccinated. Evidently there’s a penalty for defying him.
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