Canada’s Compulsory Covid Vaccination Policy: The Ending Credits of Democracy

E-mails sent to millions of employees across Canada titled: ‘COMPULSORY VACCINATION POLICY AGAINST COVID-19’ emphasize that companies are promoting safety in the workplace in order to prevent the potential spread of the virus (today, while writing this text, 34,802 people or 0.09% of the total population are reported to be infected), which is why the decision to apply mandatory vaccination for all employees was enacted. 

This decision enters into effect on November 1, 2021.

Every employee working from an office, attending meetings or in the field must be fully vaccinated, regardless of the nature of their employment, whether working from the office or remotely.

Furthermore, by no later than December 31, employees should provide proof and confirmation that they have been vaccinated or provide medical documentation or give some other reason based on the Human Rights Act that exempts them from the vaccination requirement. Along with a written request for ‘exemption’, they should also enclose a confirmation of a medical or religious reason based on the Human Rights Act. The request will be taken into account by the company’s management on an individual basis and may or may not be accepted. Also, all those who have not been fully vaccinated are urged to do so immediately. Companies are generous in giving a 3-hour paid leave if needed, in order to receive the vaccine.

However, there was not a single word in the e-mailed announcement about the Canadian Constitution and what it states about the adopted measures. Namely, on the basis of which law and article can a decision be made regarding the mandatory immunization of the entire population? In Canada, the flagship of Western democracy, this basic constitutional question is almost never posed or talked about.

On the other hand, on October 13, 2021 the French Senate rejected the bill mandating compulsory vaccination against the Coronavirus disease. The proposal submitted by the Socialists at the end of August was rejected by 262 votes, with only 64 senators voting to put the bill forward. Thereby, the Senate has failed to adopt the law which “which establishes a mandatory vaccination against COVID-19.”

As the Constitution is the highest law of a state, the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia (one of those small countries often called ‘backward’ and ‘uncivilized’ in the West) stipulates that the universal human right is the right to freedom. People make decisions by their own free will regarding issues that concern their well-being and health, while the Constitution of Serbia ‘incorporates’ the right of citizens to independently make decisions regarding these matters.

As a small number have trust in the justice of the Canadian system and the Human Rights Act (which mainly deals with the LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQA and LGBTQ2S populations), many Christian Orthodox believers have flocked to their churches seeking not only solace but also a written request of exemption from the mandatory vaccinations – based on religious reasons.

The church is a fortress and a beacon in this general planetary chaos, as it always has been in previous centuries.

However, the Greek and Serbian Orthodox Churches clergy in Canada quote to their parishioners, just like to the author of this text, the government guidance, with the request to remain anonymous.

“I am sorry, but a decree from the Diocese was sent and we have no authority to give any such confirmation.”

“The situation is completely muddled but we must endure to the end. Try not to get vaccinated. We pray to God to help us.”

“Most bishops and a number of priests have already been vaccinated. Only one Russian priest issues certificates of exemption, thus respecting the will of the faithful.”

If a believer seeks confirmation and refuses to be vaccinated, why does the church deny them this opportunity?

One priest acknowledged that the Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church held no view on this issue, but it permitted each priest to hold his own opinion. The religious body considers the vaccination policy a medical issue but it also has a political stance, which is why the Synod declines to issue ‘exemption’ certificates. In fact, unvaccinated residents can leave Canada until October 30, 2021 but they cannot return without a vaccination certificate. The same rule applies to domestic travel by plane, train, or boat between the many provinces and territories of Canada.

In any case, the only bright spot in these muddled times is the afore mentioned Russian priest who consented to provide an ‘exemption’ certificate but the question still remains whether the managements of various companies will accept it or not.

You see, it is raining… The weather is bad 

When joining the protest rally that took place in Toronto (with a population of over 6 million) on Saturday, October 16, to rub shoulders with those fighting against the restrictive (new) Covid measures and standing for freedom and the right to have their opinion and their position and to preserve the dignity given to them by birth as human beings, we two Serbs (my friend and I) found ourselves among some hundred or so ‘Canadian’ protesters, several Chinese people, and one Australian. When we asked an ‘authentic’ Canadian woman why there were so few people at the protest, unlike in Australia or Europe, the answer was completely shocking: “You see, it’s raining… the weather’s bad.”

A Chinese man at the October 16, 2021 protests

Appeased by actual well-being (the rich) or fake comfort (the majority of the population is deep in debt), on this rainy day Canadians chose to watch TV or dine at a restaurant (restaurants restrict entrance to COVID-19 vaccine certificate holders).

The question arises: why was there no closing credits theme music at the protest for the end credits for democracy in this vast country!? After all, the foundation of democracy is the freedom of choice… 

The overture for the October or July “Trail balloon” 

In mid-July, some distressing news appeared on local portals: “Seneca College is the first Canadian university requiring all students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Considering that at that point in time, a mere 0.001% of the population were infected, according to official data, it was unclear why the Seneca College management had decided on this drastic measure.

In fact, this decision posed numerous questions that required answers from the Seneca College representatives, as well as those from the legal and medical professions, but also the international community, which kept its silence during the summer of 2021.

Other universities in Ontario, including Ryerson, Ontario Tech and Western University, stated then that they would require vaccinations for students living in dormitories but not for those living off-campus.

In Manitoba, university representatives assured concerned students, professors and staff that they would not make vaccinations compulsory. “We can’t demand anybody to get the vaccine. That’s not within our power or in the province’s power,” the president of Brandon University, David Docherty, told CBC News TV.

It is now completely clear that this decision by Seneca College was not just a ‘trial balloon’ but rather, an overture for the measures adopted on October 6, and that young people in this country, once a symbol of democracy, would not have a choice regarding vaccinations at any of Canada’s universities.

The bold representatives of the universities in the province of Manitoba spearheaded by Docherty have realized that “the province’s power” is not at all relevant but that rather, it has passed into the hands of the PM who autonomously makes decisions for the betterment of the nation.

At any rate, Prime Minister Trudeau, as soon as he announced the new COVID-19 measures, left for a vacation to the District of Tofino (British Columbia), which is known for its wild nature, ancient rainforests, and sandy beaches where visitors can surf all year round. As October remains remarkably warm, Canadians, while fearing for their jobs and freedom of movement, can conjure up their PM performing miraculous acrobatics on a surfboard. For, once they allow themselves to be deprived of their freedom of opinion and the right to choose, it is guaranteed that those who are to come after Trudeau will also be ‘surfing’ on the very same wave.

The dark (non)democratic autumn days are quickly passing by and heading towards camps for the unvaccinated. But in all honesty: the tradition of labour camps and reserves in Canada is rich and long.

There are some 3,100 reserves in Canada for the indigenous nations, according to a 2011 survey. The rights and freedoms of Canada’s First Nations are regulated by the Indian Act passed in 1876 by the Canadian Parliament, and the Canadian federal government has been given the exclusive authority to pass laws relating to “Indians and the land reserved for them.”

At the beginning of the First World War, thousands of immigrants were considered enemies of Canada just because they had arrived from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and they were confined in labour camps across the country. Thousands of Ukrainians, as well as Serbs, Hungarians, Germans, and Romanians were arrested and taken to camps where they subsisted in harsh conditions, starving and freezing, until 1919. The most famous camp that housed many Serbs was located in northern Ontario.

During the Second World War, there were about 40 camps in Canada intended for the accommodation of German soldiers captured in North Africa. One such camp in Manitoba, operating from October 1943 to October 1945, housed German prisoners of war who were engaged in numerous work projects.