Canadians becoming impatient with the unvaccinated – mixed message from Catholic Church

Canadians impatient with unvaccinated

Canadians are becoming increasingly impatient with their unvaccinated countrymen, and the government is making it clear to citizens – get vaccinated or lose your job.

Civil servants and anyone working in federally regulated industries who decline to get the Covid-19 shot will face unemployment.

In October, Canada’s federal jobs minister added to the hard-line approach. She advised that anyone fired for remaining unvaccinated would lose Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

“If you choose to leave your job for that reason, my current thinking and the current advice I’m getting is you won’t qualify for EI,” Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough told CBC television. “The employer choosing to terminate someone for that reason would make that person ineligible for EI”.

The minister’s comments provoked a torrent of reactions. While many Canadians could not contain their exasperation with the unvaccinated, others expressed misgivings about the loss of EI benefits.

Ms Qualtrough’s comments struck some as insensitive.

“There was no ‘unfortunately.’ No hint of sympathy. Her tone and affect were borderline chipper,” columnist Chris Selley wrote in The National Post.

“Canadians are enjoying firing the unvaccinated far too much,” he wrote. “Qualtrough, her fellow ministers and the rest of the Pro-Vax Army need to take a step back and think about what the hell they’re doing here.”

But the minister’s actions may reflect that more Canadians are becoming impatient with the unvaccinated. Canadians have embraced vaccination in large numbers, more than 83% of Canadians over 12 are now fully vaccinated.

“As people tire of this pandemic, their patience with anti-vaxxers is becoming thinner and thinner,” said David Seljak, a religious studies professor at St Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario. “The government understands this and won’t be afraid to impose the kind of very strong measures that you see being imposed.”

“People have very hard views on the unvaccinated,” said pollster John Wright of Maru Public Opinion. Their sentiments “are very much all or nothing, you get the vaccine or you are excluded from most societal activities and jobs.”

Polls show support for vaccine mandates and passports for adults. An ACS-Léger poll found that 83% supported the introduction of vaccine passports. And 69% of respondents said, “they do not trust people that are unvaccinated.”

Meanwhile, some messaging from the Catholic Church has caused confusion.

Some unvaccinated Canadian Catholics have been seeking religious exemptions. This is despite Canada’s Catholic bishops promoting vaccinations. In addition, many dioceses have publicly reiterated the church’s position on Covid-19 vaccines, declaring them to be morally licit and encouraging Catholics to get them.

However, the Archdiocese of Ottawa prepared a sample letter for priests to sign for Catholics seeking religious exemptions to vaccinations. The letter, leaked to the Ottawa Citizen, starts:

“I am a baptized Catholic seeking an exemption from an immunization requirement. This letter explains how the Catholic Church’s teachings may lead individual Catholics, including me, (INSERT NAME), to decline certain vaccines.

“The Roman Catholic Church teaches that a person may be required to refuse a medical intervention, including a vaccination, if his or her informed conscience comes to this sure judgment.”

The value of priests providing documents for Catholics seeking religious exemptions could be limited, according to experts.

When religious exemptions are permitted in Canada, “all you have to do is tell your employer you have a sincerely held religious belief. You don’t need a letter from your bishop or your priest,” Mr Seljak said.

However, Canada’s courts and human rights tribunals “have a long tradition of protecting public health over the claims of individuals,” he said, predicting most legal challenges to mandates would fail.

Canadian public opinion, meanwhile, takes a dim view of people seeking religious exemptions. The ACS-Léger poll found 79% of respondents “don’t believe there are legitimate religious exemptions for not getting vaccinated.”


America Magazine


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