The Conservative Party’s anti-vax caucus is not about protecting civil liberties

Aaron Rodgers is not your average professional athlete. Sure, he’s a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, but he also did a commendable job as a backup host on Jeopardy! and even indicated that he would have been willing to accept the full-time job. That’s why last week’s revelation that he is trading some of the dumbest COVID-19 conspiracy theories came as a shock to millions.

In a recent podcast appearance, Rodgers touched on virtually every vaccine-related nonsense in a five-minute spiel, from the alleged risks of infertility (there are none) to the claim that the political left opposed vaccines during the final year of his presidency. Donald Trump (was not).

“I am someone who is a critical thinker,” he said. said. Your willingness to validate the unfounded fears of millions of unvaccinated Americans will almost certainly cause some of them to die from the virus, but you live in a country where people routinely privilege their own freedoms over their responsibility to others.

Most concerning here is that this “me first” mentality is spreading across the border and beginning to infect Canadians as well. Look no further than the House of Commons, where a group of 15-30 Conservative MPs and Senators led by Sarnia MP Marilyn Gladu are forming a so-called “civil liberties group” that will defend the rights of unvaccinated Canadians. the Hill timesAbbas Rana has reported: “The group chose ‘civil liberties’ as their name because they believe that Canadians who do not want to be vaccinated are not being treated fairly and losing their jobs is a violation of their rights.”

The fact that Erin O’Toole is apparently willing to tolerate this shows how weak her grip on the party leadership really is and how unwilling she is to stand up to its far-right flank.

Opinion: Conservatives in Canada continue to put the rights of people who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine before their responsibilities to everyone else, including healthcare workers, writes Max Fawcett #canpoli #vaccines

Unfortunately, you are not alone there. In Ontario and Quebec, conservative prime ministers backed off from resistance from unvaccinated healthcare workers, announcing that they won’t make vaccinations mandatory for them after all. Premier Doug Ford and Francois Legault mentioned the potential impact of thousands of healthcare workers leaving work, with Ford suggestion His province’s decision was based on “real-world evidence here in Ontario and across Canada.”

It is not entirely clear which real world he is referring to here. Take the case of New York, where the mandatory vaccination deadline of November 1 was met with threats of widespread service interruptions by public sector employees, along with noisy protests from unvaccinated members of the ranks of the firefighters, police officers and city sanitation workers. The city called its bluff, and so far it seems to be working. Even though union leaders predicted that up to 10,000 police officers would leave rather than get vaccinated before the deadline, only 34 they were placed on leave without pay.

Me first attitude

Yet for whatever reason, conservatives in Canada seem completely incapable of calling for that kind of resolution. Instead, they continue to privilege the rights of the unvaccinated over their responsibilities to everyone else, including health workers who care for the sick. And the more they turn from this “me first” attitude, the more they embolden and strengthen it.

Yes, millions of Americans are happy to continue to prioritize individual rights over collective responsibility, even if it comes at the cost of many thousands of deaths. But here in Canada, we need our elected officials to do a better job of reminding people that their freedoms are not absolute and that they should think of others and themselves.

If you’re not willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, you don’t have to be a healthcare provider. If anything, vaccine mandates will serve as a useful long-term test for our public institutions, as the people who lose as a result of them are not a real loss.

But if and when the Conservative Party of Canada’s “civil liberties group” decides to try get into Parliament, your leader cannot sit idly by and watch. Erin O’Toole will have to choose sides: does she support the other MPs who are abiding by the shared set of rules that govern their behavior, or the scoffers who put their own views and values ​​first? Your answer here will speak volumes, and not just about the future of your own leadership.

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