As the debate over vaccine mandates continues to rage here in the U.S., some of our neighbors to the north who haven’t lined up for their COVID jab are dealing with restrictions and will soon face fines over their healthcare decisions.
The province of Quebec is doubling down on authoritarianism in order to crack down on medical freedom. Roughly 90% of Quebecers have received at least one vaccine dose according to the government, and the provincial government wants to put the screws on the remaining tenth.
“Right now, these people, they put a very important burden on our health care network, and I think it’s normal that the majority of the population is asking that there be a consequence,” Quebec Premier François Legault said at a news conference Tuesday.
“It’s a question also of fairness for the 90% of the population who made some sacrifices — and I think we owe them this kind of measure,” he added.
Additionally, the provincial government has put restrictions on some products for the unvaxxed. Unvaccinated residents of Quebec cannot buy alcohol or cannabis products as of last week, a move that led to a spike in vaccinations. Talk about hitting people where it hurts.
Quebec enacted vaccine passports for citizens and visitors this past September, and this passport is required for all “non-essential” activities. I’ve written about Quebec’s crackdown on freedom of religion before: the province requires a passport to go to church, which should tell you what the government thinks of religious services.
Provincial officials haven’t released details about the fines, but Legault did say that they would be “significant.”
Quebec isn’t alone in such drastic measures against the unvaxxed. We’ve seen what has happened in Australia under an ostensibly conservative government: severe restrictions, quarantine “camps,” and protest. Heck, the Aussies wouldn’t even let the number one men’s tennis player in the world into the country (until they changed their minds).
Other countries are getting in on the vaccine-or-else bandwagon. Austria is planning to require the shot for anyone over age 14, while Greeks over 60 will have to vax up by law starting Sunday.
But Italy takes the cake with their new vaccine requirements, which follows shot-or-test requirements for employees that are already on the books.
CNN reports (with my emphasis):
The new vaccine decree for those 50 and older removes the option to take a test instead of getting vaccinated. Those who refuse to get vaccinated risk a fine of 600-1,500 euros (approximately $680-$1,700), a government source told CNN on Thursday.
After five days they will lose their salary but will not be fired from their position. This means they can receive pay again if they get vaccinated, the source said.
For unvaccinated people who are 50 and older and who are unemployed or retired, there will be a fine of 100 euros, the source said.
With all apologies to Sophia Petrillo… Picture it: Sicily (or anywhere else in Italy, for that matter) 2022. You’re over 50, and you don’t want the vaccine. The government fines you and forces you into slavery until you get the jab.
Thank God this hasn’t happened in the U.S. — yet. If this type of government overreach took place here, I can only imagine the uproar. Pray it doesn’t.