I think Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did just that recently in decreeing that fully-vaccinated Americans would be allowed into Canada for non-essential business as of Aug. 9, considering the American government had no intention to allowing the same privilege to Canadians..
And sometimes people say the dumbest things.
I think Ontario Premier Doug Ford did just that when he said that health-care workers have a “constitutional right” to opt out of vaccination, despite the province mandating immunization policies for long-term care home staff in order to protect vulnerable residents.
Let’s look first at what Trudeau did:
Why in the name of anything would he open our border to Americans when every state is experiencing an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases being reported daily.
Take our situation right across the border, in Chippewa County, for starters.
It is doing quite well at the moment with no new cases being reported on a daily basis but that might not last, considering how the virus is taking off again in the States because of people refusing to be vaccinated.
Chippewa’s numbers are far higher than those in our area, the county having recorded 2,551 cases with 34 deaths compared to our 405 cases, with five still active, and six deaths.
Of Chippewa’s 2,551 cases, 1,429 are listed as probable, which means a person could have had symptoms after travelling to an infected area, had high-risk exposure or was exposed to a known cluster or outbreak.
That, of course, leads to the unanswered question, why weren’t these people tested to confirm they actually had the virus.
I always thought that Canada and the U.S. had worked together on their monthly decisions putting off border crossings, but it is apparent from Trudeau’s misguided move that that is not the case. The U.S. has announced that it will not allow entry of Canadians until Aug. 21, and there is no guarantee it will do so then, Granted, Americans coming our way will have to be tested and will have to be fully vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean some of them won’t be carrying the virus by the time they get into Canada.
And anyway, our making the move to allow Americans into our country by land when we will not be allowed to enter theirs in the same manner just rankles.
Now to what Ford said:
“I think it’s their constitutional right to take it or not take it,” he told reporters last week in regard to some health-care workers not wanting to be vaccinated . “No one should be forced to do anything.”
One wonders where Ford has been. We are forced by our governments at all levels to do all sorts of things.
For instance, to name just a few:
Wear seat belts, pay taxes, have a licence to drive, wear helmets when riding a motorcycle, obey street signs and speed limits, buy insurance, go to school, the list could go on.
Health-care workers were among the first to get access to COVID-19 vaccines in Canada, which only stood to reason because they were on the front lines, being in close contact with patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
And now it is time to take that extra step, ensuring all participants are vaccinated.
The Ontario Medical Association and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario have called for mandatory vaccines for health-care workers in Canada’s largest province, where the potentially more deadly delta variant is estimated to make up more than 90 per cent of latest COVID-19 cases.
France has ordered all health-care workers to get vaccinated by Sept. 15 as the delta variant has driven COVID-19 levels upwards. Greece and Italy also have put similar rules in place.
This shows, despite what Ford says, it is legal to do so, one case in the U.S. already having approved just that.
A federal judge in June dismissed a lawsuit brought by some employees of a Texas hospital over its requirement that workers be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Nearly 200 employees at Houston Methodist were suspended without pay for their failure to get fully vaccinated, per the hospital system’s requirements and 117 signed on to a lawsuit.
U.S. district judge Lynn N. Hughes said in his ruling that claims that the vaccines are dangerous are “false, and it is also irrelevant.” Hughes noted that Texas law “only protects employees from being terminated for refusing to commit an act carrying criminal penalties to the worker,” and that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine “is not an illegal act.”
Brandy Sharp Young, manager communications and media services at Sault Area Hospital, said , “While it is not mandatory for Sault Area Hospital workers to get the vaccine, we strongly encourage workers to get vaccinated, as vaccinations remain the single best defense against COVID-19.”
Not all members of professional sports teams have been vaccinated, to the consternation of many, and I think that is a mistake. I believe vaccination should be a requirement for employment in all professional sports.
I was pleased to see the the “amateur” Ontario Hockey League has made just that move, requiring all players , team personnel, volunteers and billet families, excluding members of the billet family who are too young, to be vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the commencement of the 2021-2022 season.
Alternately, I was not pleased to see that Algoma University and Sault College are not following Seneca College’s decision to require students and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they are going to be on campus this fall.
Trudeau undoubtedly will follow through on his opening of the border.
But Ford can implement a vaccine mandate covering health-care workers and all government employees.
He should get it done.