Quebec will tax the unvaccinated: Emmanuel André speaks of “justice”

They are a “burden” for the health system according to the Quebec Prime Minister who is preparing to toughen measures against those who refuse the vaccine by implementing a new tax only for the unvaccinated.

This “health contribution”, the government of the French-speaking province of Canada hit hard by the Omicron wave wants it to represent a “significant amount” which is still under discussion.

According to Quebec Prime Minister François Legault, the 10% of Quebecers who have not yet received any dose of vaccine should not “harm” to the 90% who were vaccinated. “It is not for all Quebecers to pay”, he hammered during a press conference speaking of a “financial burden for all Quebecers”.

The Quebec Prime Minister explained that if unvaccinated adults only represent 10% of the population, they account for 50% of people in intensive care, citing a situation “shocking”.

This tax would not apply to people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Seen from Belgium

With us, Emmanuel André, microbiologist at UZ Leuven and former interfederal spokesperson for Covid-19, spoke on Twitter. He sees a “logic of justice” : “The health cost of their denial cannot be imposed on the rest of society”.

Non-essential businesses prohibited for non-vaccinated people

“I understand and I feel this discontent with regard to the unvaccinated minority which comes, all things considered, to clog our hospitals”, he added. A few days ago, Quebec had already announced that certain non-essential businesses would be banned for non-vaccinated people, starting with its stores selling alcohol and cannabis.

In many other countries around the world, the pressure on the unvaccinated is growing. In France, the government wants to institute a vaccination pass. President Emmanuel Macron played the provocation by declaring: “The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off”. Some European countries have opted for compulsory vaccination – such as Austria or Italy for those over 50 – and Singapore no longer covers the medical costs of patients with coronavirus who have refused to be vaccinated.

But Quebec, which has again put in place very restrictive measures to fight the Omicron wave, is one of the first places to consider specific taxation for those who refuse the vaccine.

Saturated hospitals

In an attempt to stem the new wave, Quebec has reintroduced many restrictions since December 31, including the curfew from 10 p.m. and the ban on private gatherings. The province, whose hospitals are chronically understaffed and already saturated, now wants to specifically target the unvaccinated.

In total, 2,742 people with Covid are hospitalized in Quebec, which has about 8 million inhabitants and some 255 people are in intensive care.

But the strategy of the government of Quebec (led by the Coalition Avenir Quebec) is decried by many opposition parties: Eric Duhaime, the leader of the conservative party of Quebec, estimated on Twitter Tuesday that the Prime Minister continued “to find tools and even a new tax to divide Quebecers”.

The Quebec solidaire party deplores a measure that forgets “completely” vulnerable people and the leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, Dominique Anglade, in favor of compulsory vaccination, evokes a “diversion”.

In Canada, the federal government is studying the possibility of depriving unemployed Canadians of unemployment benefits who refuse to be vaccinated.

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