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The government of Quebec announced on Thursday that those who fail to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will face a “significant” tax.
Naturally, the government is receiving massive criticism — even from members of Premier Legault’s party.
Here is Premier Legault in English on the upcoming "health contribution" that any adult Quebecer who is not vaccinated will have to pay.
— Mackenzie Gray (@Gray_Mackenzie) January 11, 2022
Canada’s federal health minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, said last week that he foresees potential mandatory vaccinations. “I see it coming, personally. Not now. I don’t think we are there yet. But I think decisions need to be had about mandatory vaccinations because we have to get rid of COVID-19,” he said.
But the problem with taxing people for being sick is that it’s very bad politics. There’s also the uncomfortable fact that even vaccinated people are ending up in hospitals.
The tax seems punitive, to say the least. Not obeying the government can get expensive in some countries.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault said this would apply to adults who don’t have a medical exemption and comes as cases of the virus are starting to plateau.
He said a financial penalty is needed because about half of the patients in intensive care are unvaccinated, even though only 10% of adult Quebecers are not immunized
The controversial plan is to be enacted next month as provincial leaders express concern about a health-care crisis caused by the rapid spread of the more transmissible omicron variant.
Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom in Alberta is challenging the tax on the basis that the tax would violate the right to bodily autonomy in the Canadian Chart of Rights and Freedoms.
“The announcement of a tax on those who decline the COVID injections, like the ‘vaccine passport,’ is discrimination and wrong,” said the centre’s president John Carpay. “The proposed Quebec ‘health tax’ is an egregious violation of the Charter rights of Quebecers and an affront to equality which Canada was, in times past, known for.”
The group “argues that there is no medical or scientific justification for a vaccine tax, and that it would be a financial persecution and discriminatory to unvaccinated Quebecers.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t yet decided whether to back the tax, but a former Quebec premier, Jean Charest, has assured Ottawa that it wouldn’t interfere with the nationalized health insurance, virtually assuring its passage.
“I’ve been there. In the days when I was premier of Quebec, there were things we were doing, that in certain instances, may have been outside the Act. The federal government won’t move on [this], they’ll let it pass,” he said during an interview on CTV’s Question Period airing Sunday.
There’s something downright creepy about taxing someone for getting sick. It sounds like something that would have been popular in medieval times. But any way you look at it, this kind of coercion doesn’t belong in a democratic society.