By Marty Moore, Western Standard
The BC government has thrown out decades of legal protections for individual autonomy and bodily integrity and has imposed an authoritarian demand on individuals’ personal medical choices. On August 23, the government of BC announced it will require people to be vaccinated in order to participate in numerous basic aspects of society, including dining at a restaurant, going to a gym, or attending a wedding.
It was just May 2021 when BC’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Bonnie Henry said: “It would not be my advice that we have any sort of vaccine passport within British Columbia.” Just three short months later Henry is not only ordering vaccine passports for basic activities, but going a step further and not permitting any exemptions, for any reason. This refusal to recognize exemptions is contrary to BC human rights law, which requires individuals be accommodated on the basis of their medical conditions and religious beliefs.
BC’s premier can also add his name to the long and growing list of politicians who disregard human rights and constitutional freedoms for what they believe is the majority view. When asked about legal challenges to his government’s vaccination requirement, Premier John Horgan’s response was: “British Columbians in the majority are very much supportive of this.”
Majority support is no answer to a charge of violating individual rights. Protections for human rights and constitutional freedoms are necessary precisely because history is replete with examples of the majority oppressing minorities. In 1942, the majority of British Columbians supported the forced removal of Japanese Canadians from the BC coast to internment camps in the BC interior for the remainder of the war.
BC’s vaccination requirement is just the latest unjustified, authoritarian measure implemented by the BC government, which has shown a particular penchant for categorically disregarding the civil rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens.
In November 2020, BC banned outdoor protests categorically. When challenged in court by the Justice Centre, the government admitted its protest ban was unjustified. It turns out there was not a single instance of COVID-19 transmission at a protest.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians’ life, liberty and security of the person, which includes protection for personal autonomy and bodily integrity. Any infringement of your right to control your own body must be justified by the government, in court with evidence (not merely assertions).
To justify its mandatory vaccine requirement, the BC government broadly claims “[v]accines are our ticket to putting this pandemic behind us.” This simplistic answer seems to ignore the scientific realities about COVID-19 taking place in other parts of the world.
Israel is one of the most vaccinated countries on earth, with 80% of its adult population having received one or more shots. Yet it now has more COVID-19 cases than at any point during the pandemic and is now re-imposing strict lockdown measures. Further, half of the serious COVID-19 cases in hospitals in Israel are among vaccinated people. The Israeli government is now of the view the two dose vaccines aren’t good enough, and is giving people a third dose of the vaccine.
The recent CDC study on an outbreak in Provincetown, MA., gives a similar caution against BC’s naivete. A total 95% of the residents had been fully vaccinated in the town. Of the more than 900 COVID-19 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 vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are equally likely to transmit the virus to others.
Henry’s claim unvaccinated individuals pose a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission appears to be based on speculation, not science. The vaccines do not purport to prevent transmission, but rather to reduce the incidence of severe illness. It is hoped that experimental m-RNA “vaccines” will prevent transmission. Presently, however, the FDA admits “the scientific community does not yet know if the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine will reduce such transmission.”
Governments across Canada are zealous to be seen as doing “something” by the vaccine-focused media and elites. But by requiring vaccine passports, they entirely overlook the superior protection enjoyed by individuals who previously had COVID-19. Israeli data shows that previously infected, unvaccinated individuals have six to 13 times more protection than those fully vaccinated who had not been previously infected.
BC’s vaccination requirement infringes Charter rights and freedoms. To be constitutional, vaccine passports must be “demonstrably justified” by the evidence. Simplistic claims and wishful speculation by the government does not qualify as evidence. Nor does the media-fueled fear affecting the majority of citizens.
The issue of justification will require careful examination of the actual science. Since published scientific data undermines, rather than justifies, BC’s vaccine requirements, the province better prepare to answer the bell in court. Better yet, BC should consider the evidence and cancel its discriminatory vaccine passport requirement before — like the earlier prohibition on outdoor protests — it’s exposed as an unjustified violation of Canadians’ rights and freedoms.