The Canadian province of Quebec has dropped its plan to impose a health tax for all adult residents who chose not to have the covid jabs.
The regional government said that the idea would only alienate people.
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Quebec premier Francois Legault told reporters on Tuesday “I have to make sure that I protect the health of Quebecers, but I have also to protect the peace in our society,” he added that “In the last week or so there’s been an increase in the reaction of people.“
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RT reports: While the province’s health minister said Quebec saw an uptick in vaccinations after the tax plan was unveiled in mid-January, in announcing the about-face, the premier said, “I understand that this divides Quebecers and right now we need to build bridges.”
“They are angry more than ever. I don’t like to see Quebecers divided like we’re seeing.”
The proposed “health contribution” would have fined unimmunized residents for between $50 and $100, with Legault initially saying the policy aimed to “tell people who choose not to get vaccinated that there will be a price to pay” and make up for “sacrifices” endured by the rest of the population.
To date, around 84% of those eligible in Quebec are considered fully vaccinated, just above the national average.
The province of Ontario, Canada’s most populous, previously opted against a similar tax, arguing the policy was unjustifiably “punitive.” Premier Doug Ford said his administration would “take a different approach,” though he implored residents to receive the shot.
Quebec’s decision to scrap the fine comes amid a major vaccine row at the Canadian border, where truck drivers have gathered to protest vaccination mandates in both Canada and the US in recent days. One stretch of borderland in Coutts, Alberta reportedly saw a blockade of around 100 trucks, creating a miles-long backup on Montana’s Interstate 15. The Alberta government has denounced the protest as a “significant inconvenience” that “must end immediately,” while police declared the gathering unlawful and vowed to take action to stop it earlier on Tuesday.
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