A few days ago, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that COVID-19 vaccination certificates are to be “expected”.
In his widely reported remarks Tuesday (April 27), Trudeau said: “As was the case pre-pandemic, certificates of vaccination are a part of international travel to certain regions and are naturally to be expected when it comes to this pandemic and the coronavirus.”
Moreover, the prime minister said: “How we actually roll that out in alignment with partners and allies around the world is something that we’re working on right now to coordinate.”
Comments like these keep people such as B.C. man Keith MacIntyre awake at night.
“Fear,” MacIntyre told the Straight when asked about what first came to his mind when he heard Trudeau’s comments about vaccine certificates.
The Pentincton resident belongs to the B.C. Libertarian Party, and he is expected to be elected as its leader next Saturday (May 8).
Vaccine certificates can take the form of a paper or digital file indicating that a person has been innoculated against the novel coronavirus.
Such certificate may be required in order for a person to access a service, enter a place, travel, and other purposes.
Personal freedoms and liberties are at the centre of the B.C. Libertarian Party.
“Any time we implement something that takes away our freedom, it just becomes easier and easier to do,” MacIntyre said in the phone interview.
MacIntyre explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed governments in Canada and across the world to deprive citizens of freedoms and liberties.
“We're experiencing the biggest loss of freedom in many generations across the globe and every step in the direction of less freedom is a bad one,” he said.
What concerns MacIntyre is “all of the small steps the government is taking”.
“I've been saying for months, they will start by enforcing it for international travel, then it will be domestic, then it will be community and work,” MacIntyre said about vaccine certificates.
“Where will it stop?” the libertarian asked.
As Trudeau indicated, MacIntyre said that vaccine certificates are “likely going to happen”.
In an April 13, 2021 paper, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association stated that there are many reasons why the idea of a vaccination passport or certificate is a “troubling one”.
“First, the science doesn’t support their utility,” the CCLA noted.
In addition to being not supported by science, vaccine papers “raise significant risks to rights and freedoms”.
One is privacy: “Tying the ability to participate in public life with a ubiquitous or persistent form of surveillance (“show us proof you have made a socially acceptable choice about your health”) is a diminishment of the level of freedom we expect in a democracy, particularly when weighed against the questionable efficacy of the passport to reliably indicate an inability to transmit the virus.”
Another is mobility: “Canadians have experienced unprecedented restrictions on moving around within Canada, from province to province, during the pandemic. A provincial/territorial patchwork of vaccination proof tokens or apps would make the problem worse.”
A third is equality: “Socially sorting people based on personal decisions about their health, which they are legally and ethically entitled to make, runs the risk of creating different levels of freedom for different ‘categories’ of people, a risk that is likely to intersect with other systemic inequalities and affect some groups more than others.”
A fourth is liberty: “Policies that facilitate vaccination status as a precondition to full participation in public life run the risk of rendering a voluntary vaccination regime de facto mandatory, via diffuse coercive impacts.”
Going back to MacIntyre, the B.C. libertarian also mentioned tracking bracelets.
“That’s very worrisome to me,” he said in the phone interview.
Media reports in February 2021 state that the Ontario provincial government announced that it invested $2.5 million in the production of tracking bracelets.
The bracelets are designed to track exposure to COVID-19. It beeps or vibrates when the wearer comes too close to another person.
Also, the Toronto Sun on April 28, 2020 reported about a 2010 National Film Board documentary wherein Dr. Theresa Tam made an appearance.
Tam was then director general for the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response. She is now Canada’s chief public health officer.
In that film titled Outbreak: Anatomy of a Plague, Tam talks about how governments can prevent the spread of diseases.
Tam warned that “if there are people who are non-compliant, there are definitely laws and public health powers that can quarantine people in mandatory settings”.
The Toronto Sun reported that the narration has Tam saying there is “potential you can track people, put bracelets on their arms, have police and their setups to ensure quarantine is undertaken”.
B.C. Libertarian MacIntyre is a software engineer, and he knows the danger of technology being misused.
That’s the reason why he is also not in favour of things like the federal government’s COVID alert app.
“Governments across the country have given themselves the power to do whatever they want and they are using it,” MacIntyre said. “No government has ever given back freedoms they take away willingly.”