Nationally, Justin Trudeau's government has been able to impose some of the most restrictive vaccine requirements of any country in the world. Those measures go above and beyond those imposed in other places, including proof of vaccination requirements to enter bars, restaurants, and other indoor venues. Under Trudeau's directive, Canadians are even unable to board trains and airlines for domestic travel without being vaccinated. Though those national measures have been criticized for their draconian effects, a provincial Canadian government is set to go even further in its efforts to punish the unvaccinated.
Quebec Premier François Legault revealed that his province plans to impose a tax on its unvaccinated residents. Though the premier's office did not disclose the cost of the tax, it announced the initiative at a press conference scheduled to introduce Dr. Luc Boileau at the province's interim health director who will be tasked with imposing the financial penalty. This measure is the first to be implemented in Canada.
Elsewhere in the world, notably in Austria, fines against the unvaccinated have been levied in order to drive vaccine rates higher. In Quebec, only about 10% of eligible adults have yet to be vaccinated. Despite the predominant majority of residents of the province being recognized as vaccinated, cases of COVID-19 have increased following the emergence of the omicron variant.
Legault remarked that the unvaccinated account for over 50% of acute-care hospital beds, reframing the tax against them as a means to offset the burden they are perceived to put on the provincial healthcare system. To date, Quebec has the most fatalities attributed to COVID-19 of any province in Canada with a total of 12,028. 62 of those deaths occurred on the day Legault revealed his plan to tax the unvaccinated, along with 8,710 reported new cases yielded from over 51,000 tests, as hospitalizations rose by 188, 7 of which were patients admitted into intensive care.
The impetus of Quebec hiring an interim health director came following the resignation of the previous holder of the position, Dr. Horacio Arruda. His resignation on Monday was tendered in the wake of backlash to the province's increased pandemic restrictions which began on December 30th; including a curfew between the hours of 10 pm to 5 am, bans on private gatherings, and the requirement for all shops to be closed on Sundays. Unable to cope with the pressure, Dr. Arruda departed from his office, making way for Dr. Boileau as his replacement. Given the outcry against the direction of the provincial health director's office, Arruda will need to have much more resolve than his predecessor given that his appointment coincides with even more intrusive action taken against the unvaccinated in Quebec.
Though Quebec's initiative was not made under the directive of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office, it's sure to have his unequivocal support. Trudeau's crusade against the unvaccinated has become completely unhinged in recent weeks. The Canadian Prime Minister, who himself has been criticized for dressing in blackface in his younger years, categorized the unvaccinated in his nation as "racist and misogynistic extremists" during a television appearance which coincidentally took place in Quebec in the final days of the 2021 calendar year.
Trudeau's vilification of his country's unvaccinated citizens followed the tone of those made by French President Emmanuel Macron, who himself categorized the unvaccinated in his nation as non-citizens. Macron would go on describe his strategy against the unvaccinated as being designed to "piss them off." With Quebec set to impose an unvaccinated tax on the horizon, the French President may want to take notes from the Canadian province on how to sew outrage.