Saturday, September 4, 2021

Trudeau using vaccine passes as wedge issue

Trudeau Brandishes Vaccine Mandate as Early Wedge Against Tories | Bloomberg - Theophilos Argitis & Shelly Hagan:

August 16, 2021 - "Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked off his campaign for re-election by touting his credentials in fighting the pandemic and accusing the main opposition party of giving vaccine skeptics a pass. After calling a vote for Sept. 20 that opposition parties claim is unnecessary, Trudeau justified the decision by saying the world has changed dramatically since the last election in 2019 and Canadians should decide who gets to 'finish' the job of managing the Covid-19 crisis.

"He chided the Conservative Party for not supporting his government’s decision to require vaccination for air and rail passengers, public servants and other categories of workers.... 'We chose to make sure federal public servants and everyone boarding a train or a plane be vaccinated. Not everyone agrees. Not every political party agrees,' Trudeau said at a press conference in Ottawa. 'We believe that the government’s most important responsibility is to keep Canadians safe and thriving.'

"Trudeau’s focus on vaccine passports serves a dual purpose for the prime minister. It directs attention to what polls say is his biggest strength -- high marks on his handling of the pandemic -- and allows him an opportunity to paint the Conservatives as regressive, which is a tried-and-true strategy for the Liberals early in campaigns. The Conservatives are the Liberals’ key opponent and are running second in polls, though the New Democratic Party has pockets of strong support and the Bloc Quebecois, a Quebec nationalist party, remains a political force in the French-speaking province.... Polling also shows a majority of Canadians approve of placing restrictions on people who have yet to get inoculated.

"During his first campaign press conference, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole was asked several times about vaccine mandates and whether his party’s candidates would be vaccinated. O’Toole -- who caught the virus last September -- made it clear that he supports vaccines and encourages everyone who’s eligible to get one, but the party’s position is not to make them mandatory. Late Sunday, his campaign said a Conservative government would require unvaccinated passengers to present a negative test to board an airplane, train, ship or bus."

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Trudeau promises $1B to help provinces pay for vaccine passports | CBC News - John Paul Tasker: 

August 27, 2021 - "Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau today announced a billion-dollar fund to help provinces create their own vaccine passports.... Speaking to reporters at a campaign stop in Mississauga, Ont., Trudeau said he wants to see 'Canadians moving again in a safe and responsible way.' He said the best way to do that is to create a tool the vaccinated can use to prove they've had their shots before entering a store, arena or office. If a province requires that everyone at a local restaurant, gym or other non-essential business location be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination, Trudeau said, Ottawa would pay for the development and the rollout of that program....

"Some provinces, notably B.C. and Quebec, already have created smartphone-based vaccine passports that people can use to prove their COVID-19 immunization status in commercial or public spaces — everything from bars and restaurants to bowling alleys and hockey rinks — where provincial law will soon require proof of a shot before entry. Manitoba is also expected to make its passport system mandatory for some nonessential businesses in the coming weeks. But in two of the country's largest provinces — Alberta and Ontario — provincial leaders have refused to implement such a system.

"Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said a vaccine passport would lead to a 'split society' and claims the paper receipts people receive at vaccine clinics are sufficient proof of status. In the absence of a provincewide vaccine mandate for some venues in Ontario, private businesses and universities have stepped into the void by creating their own vaccine verification programs. In Alberta — where COVID-19 case numbers are high and vaccination numbers comparatively low — government officials have been insisting that a proof-of-vaccination program is a non-starter.

"The federal government has long promised its own vaccine passport-style program for international travel but Canadians are still waiting. At a press conference before the election, the government said work is underway on a smartphone app and it could be available sometime this fall. Other countries have had this sort of regime in place for months. Ottawa has explained away the delay by pointing to the provinces, which control vaccination records."

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