Quebec is backing down on its proposed tax for the unvaccinated because the idea was too divisive, the province revealed Tuesday.
“When we see what’s happening in our society and on social media, I have a certain worry about seeing Quebecers divided,” Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters in Quebec City.
Legault announced last month the province was working on a “significant” health-care “contribution” that would be charged to all adults who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I understand that this divides Quebecers, and right now we need to build bridges to listen to each other, Quebecers must remain united,” he said during a news conference about the COVID-19 situation in Quebec.
“We are seeing growing discontent. I saw, of course, the reaction of the opposition parties. So I think that I also have a responsibility beyond protecting the safety of Quebecers by inciting Quebec to get vaccinated. I also have a responsibility that all of these people really learn to live together. We don’t want a divided Quebec.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation praised the Premier and said the right move was made. “It takes a humble man to admit being wrong, and Premier François Legault certainly has shown his humble side and did the right thing today,” said CTF Quebec Director Renaud Brossard in a statement. “The vaccine tax would have opened a whole Pandora’s box for new health-based taxes and taxpayers are thankful it will remain closed.”
The proposal was negatively received by many, including Liberal health critic Monsef Derraji, who predicted that the idea would be abandoned in the same way Quebec backtracked on its plan to force health care workers to get vaccinated or be suspended without pay.
Constitutional lawyers and civil rights groups also questioned the legality of the proposed tax. Cara Zwibel of the Civil Liberties Union had previously called the decision a “constitutionally vulnerable proposal.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE STAR