Provinces across Canada have now announced that only the vaccinated can participate in basic aspects of society, like dining at a restaurant, going to a gym, playing a team sport, or attending a wedding. Governments in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia have set aside decades of legal protections for personal and bodily autonomy and are now imposing discriminatory, scientifically dubious, and morally problematic mandates.
Mandatory vaccination policies are abrupt departures from recent promises to protect Charter rights and freedoms.
We were assured by B.C. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in May that “it would not be my advice that we have any sort of vaccine passport within British Columbia.” Just three months later, Dr. Henry ordered vaccine passports for basic activities, and is also not permitting any exemptions. This is contrary to B.C. human rights laws that individuals with medical conditions and religious beliefs be accommodated.
It was only in July that Ontario Premier Doug Ford acknowledged the discriminatory effects a vaccine passport would have on society, promising: “We’re not going to do it. We’re not going to have a split society.” Ford had also stated he would not make vaccinations mandatory for heath-care workers and that such a mandate would be a violation of the Constitution.
Most opposition politicians are no different when it comes to standing up for basic constitutional rights. Regarding mandatory vaccination, Ontario’s NDP opposition leader Andrea Horwath stated on Aug. 4 that she didn’t “take lightly people’s Charter rights,” but completely backtracked the very next day.
B.C. Premier John Horgan can add his name to the long list of politicians who disregard human rights and constitutional freedoms in order to pander to the perceived majority view. When asked about legal challenges to his government’s vaccination requirement, Horgan’s response was that “British Columbians in the majority are very much supportive of this.” The same could have been said in 1942 about the forcible eviction of Japanese Canadians from the B.C. coast to live in internment camps in the B.C. Interior for the duration of the war.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians’ personal autonomy and bodily integrity under the Section 7 rights to life, liberty, and security of the person. In Canada’s free and democratic society, it’s up to the government to justify any infringement of your right to control to your own body, and the government must provide compelling evidence in court.
To justify B.C.’s mandatory vaccine requirement, Horgan broadly claims that “[v]accines are our ticket to putting this pandemic behind us.” Likewise, Ford claims: “Based on the latest evidence and best advice, COVID-19 vaccine certificates give us the best chance to slow the spread of this virus while helping us to avoid further lockdowns.” These simplistic statements ignore the realities of COVID as documented in recent studies.
For example, Israel is one of the most vaccinated countries on earth, yet it currently has more COVID cases now than ever, in spite of 80 percent of the country’s adults being vaccinated. Further, half of the serious COVID cases in hospital are among vaccinated people. Israel is imposing lockdown restrictions again, along with providing a third dose of the vaccine.
A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where 95 percent of the residents had been fully vaccinated, is illuminating. Of the more than 900 COVID cases, three-quarters were among fully vaccinated people. Four of the five people hospitalized were fully vaccinated. Perhaps most significantly, as reported by The Associated Press, “vaccinated people who got so-called breakthrough infections carried about the same amount of the coronavirus as those who did not get the shots,” indicating that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are equally likely to transmit COVID to others.
Despite this, B,C.’s Dr. Henry attempts to justify vaccination requirement by claiming a higher risk of transmission from unvaccinated individuals. But the COVID vaccines themselves do not purport to prevent transmission, but rather to reduce the incidence of severe illness. It appears that Henry’s statements are based on speculation and the hope that experimental mRNA “vaccines” will prevent transmission. Presently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration admits that “the scientific community does not yet know if the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine will reduce such transmission.”
Governments are also overlooking the superior protection enjoyed by individuals who previously had COVID. Again, Israeli data shows that previously infected unvaccinated individuals have 6 to 13 times more protection, with less risk of hospitalization, than those fully vaccinated who had not been previously infected.
Since it is indisputable that mandatory vaccination requirements infringe on Canadians’ constitutional rights, our Charter will only permit it to be upheld if it is “demonstrably justified” by the evidence. Neither the broad and simplistic claims of government or the media-fuelled fear of a majority are evidence. Current scientific data undermines, rather than justifies, the imposition of mandatory vaccination.
Requiring COVID vaccination as a condition for participating in basic aspects of society is a profound violation of Canadians’ human dignity and personal autonomy protected by our Charter. This is not the “free and democratic society” that the Charter envisions for Canada. In a free society, individuals can choose whether to receive a particular medical intervention or not.
As Canadians, we will need to fight to get our free society back.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.