*POKE THE BEAR*
Just when we thought it was safe to go back in the woods.
Les Feds last week on the eve of their new game show “Let’s Go To The Poles” announced to all that would listen, that a vaccine passport was ‘in the works’ with details to be announced………….. soon.
Within moments of said stellar announcement, social media was hotter than a BC forest floor with outcries of constitutional infringement, invasion of privacy, abolishment of chartered rights and various other opinions of displeasure.
Transport Minister Omar Abracadabra defended his government’s actions by stating “Canada must do better in increasing it’s vaccination rate.”
Let’s ignore for a moment that as of Aug.12 Canada ranked number 5 on the world’s statistical chart with 73% of our eligible population fully/partially poked in the arm with a sharp needle.
Omar wants what Omar wants!
Now insofar as International Travel is concerned, there’s really no room for debate on this one.
And while our cherished Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees mobility (of sorts) under section 6(1) – there are limitations as expressly indicated in section 6 (3).
The biggest limitation however is one that is contained *absolutely nowhere* in the Charter.
And that is the one that deals with “while Canadians are afforded absolute rights to enter, remain in, and leave Canada” – it does not, cannot, and will not ever deal with a Canadian passport holder’s right to enter another sovereign country.
That one kids, is purely the prerogative of the country you are looking to travel to.
And if the Island of Paradise requires that you be fully immunized in order to wash up on their shores, said destination is fully within their rights to make such demands – Canada’s charter notwithstanding.
And so for the unvaccinated – it’s kind of like a twist on the Hotel California’s lyrics – “You Can Leave But You Can Never Check In.”
Domestic activities however are another matter altogether that I suspect will fill the hallowed halls of debate for some time to come.
Whereas matters of health are thus far under the jurisdiction of each province, the implementation of a Federal Vaccine Passport enforceable in each province is at best – questionable.
Alberta and Ontario have thus far said no to vaccine passports.
Saskatchewan ,Manitoba and PEI are looking at their own health pass tied to provincial health cards for use where needed within their own provincial boundaries.
Quebec will pretty much go their own way with a Sept.1 implementation target.
BC is studying the pros and cons.
No decision as of yet from Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Territories, Yukon and Nunavut have thus far indicated they will follow the Federal lead.
And so there we have it.
With provinces weighing from one end of the consensus spectrum to the other, Minister Abracadabra feels that between now and election day his gang is going to be able to solve this Rubik’s Cube?
Let’s start by eliminating the term Vaccine Passport from the jargon.
The sheer sound of it to many is more inflammatory and divisive than the dropping of an election writ in the midst of other issues that are actually crucial to our country’s survival.
Instead – let’s call it what it really is – a *proof of purchase*.
Which in fact should not require Les Feds to spend a lot of time and money developing.
Let the provinces handle a simple enough process – Little Johhny goes into his local pharmacy – gets the poke – and said pharmacy enters the transaction into the provincial data base – prints out the proof of purchase – and - *voila*.
Armed with said proof of purchase – Johnny is free to enter/participate whatever venue may or may not require said proof.
Of course there will still be those who opt not to get jabbed.
And nor should it be mandatory for them to do so.
There will however be a price tag attached to opting out.
For those who feel they have the right to opt out – consider the rights of an overwhelming majority of cruise and airline passengers who are adamantly in favor of mandating that their fellow passengers be inoculated if they’re going to all share close quarters with.
Having said all this – the rules of the game continue to change on a daily basis and for most travel professionals it resembles a game of regulatory whack-a-mole.
What’s true today may not be true tomorrow.
Then again – what’s true today – may not in fact even be true today.
Adios until next time