Liberals’ Anglade says Quebec should move ahead on vaccination passports

Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade, calling vaccination passports “freedom passports,” says the Quebec government should act now.

Author of the article:

Philip Authier  •  Montreal Gazette

Publishing date:

Aug 03, 2021  •  7 hours ago  •  3 minute read  •  14 Comments

“The objective is to limit possible outbreaks and to not lock down Quebec in one form or another,” Dominique Anglade said. “Let’s take all the steps to ensure our summer of freedom does not become a lockdown in the fall.” Photo by Graham Hughes /The Gazette

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QUEBEC — The  Liberal opposition leader, Dominique Anglade, is calling on the Legault government to move ahead with creating a Quebec vaccination passport system.

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In a post on her Facebook page, Anglade said even if it has been a good summer — with Quebecers once again allowed to visit each other and travel as COVID-19 stabilized — things remain uncertain headed into the fall.

That’s when millions of Quebecers will return to school and offices at the same time as COVID-19 Delta variant cases are rising.

Quebec needs to act now and create a clear framework defining the kinds of activities non-vaccinated people can participate in should a fourth wave of the virus emerge, Anglade said.

She tagged vaccination passports “freedom passports.”

“The objective is to limit possible outbreaks and to not lock down Quebec in one form or another,” Anglade said. “Let’s take all the steps to ensure our summer of freedom does not become a lockdown in the fall.”

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She said in her view, “obtaining two doses of the vaccine is necessary.”

“Efforts to increase awareness, particularly among youth, should be intensified,” Anglade said.

In July, the Legault government said passports would be put in place Sept. 1 for certain sectors if the number of virus cases surges.

Quebec could use proof of full vaccination — two doses — to bar non-vaccinated people from accessing non-essential services, Health Minister Christian Dubé said.

The proof could be required for people to gain access to gyms, restaurants and festivals, for example.

“The vaccination passport will be used if and only if the transmission or outbreaks justify it in (an economic) sector or in a territory,” Dubé said.

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Human rights groups and the opposition Québec solidaire party have expressed reservations about the passport idea, fearing it could lead to discrimination or blackmail of certain people.

But Anglade, who has been a harsh critic of the Quebec government’s handling of the crisis, said there will always be people who will refuse or hesitate to be vaccinated.

“This is why I ask (premier) François Legault today to put in place, in co-operation with public health, a vaccination passport which will define the framework of activities non-vaccinated people can participate in if there is a fourth wave,” Anglade said.

Officials in Dubé’s office reacted with surprise, noting Anglade took a month to come around to agreeing with the idea.

But they said the minister is sticking with his initial plan of launching the passport only in September because Quebec wants to give everyone a chance to get fully vaccinated before going down this path.

“Launching the vaccination passport immediately would unjustly hinder Quebecers who have not yet had the opportunity to go and get their second dose,” an official said. “There is also the fact there is a four week interval between two doses to consider.”

In a separate tweet, Dubé noted that vaccination remains the best way to fight the Delta variant. He said Quebec is ready to move ahead with the passport “if the situation deteriorates.”

“All the more reason to get vaccinated before it is too late,” he said.

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Rappelons que le vaccin est un choix plus sécuritaire que de contracter le variant Delta.

Aussi, si la situation se détériore, nous serons prêts à implanter le passeport vaccinal, tel que déjà annoncé. Raison de plus pour être vacciné avant qu’il ne soit trop tard.

— Christian Dubé (@cdube_sante) August 3, 2021

On Tuesday, New York City announced proof of vaccination will soon be required for citizens to have access to restaurants and theatres. France has created such a passport system as has Italy.

On Tuesday Quebec reported 175 new COVID-19 cases but no new deaths.

  1. COVID ‘vaccine passports’ won’t be needed for essential services: Dubé

  2. Mohammed Adam holds a vaccine certificate that is often used when travelling internationally.

    Opinion: No one raised a fuss about vaccine certificates until we called them ‘passports’

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