Is Québec’s unvaccinated fine a mistake?

The government of Quebec has announced that it will place a financial penalty, in the form of a fine, on residents who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine.

Justification was found by claiming those who refused the vaccine are too burdensome for an overwhelmed healthcare system. Premier Francois Legault believes that this sacrifice (if we can use such a word when governments act with force) on the behalf of the unvaccinated is in fairness to vaccinated people who have endured countless lockdowns and measures. 

This move comes after unvaccinated residents were prohibited from purchasing alcohol and cannabis in the province.

Though I strongly believe that current Quebec governance is doing nothing more than dividing people, I have made my views clear on this danger elsewhere. The proper reaction to this news is to run Premier Legault’s proposal to its logical conclusion and decide as rational people that this new law is hogwash. 

Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but if you have to legislate your way to utopia, you might find hell, not paradise, once you reach the end. Premier Legault seems intent on this strategy, even though a great number of people see the same flaw in his thinking that I do. 

If we say that we are going to place fines on people who refuse the vaccine because of the healthcare costs, there is nothing that stops further legislation that punishes any activity that could land you in a doctor’s office.

It is lost on Premier Legault and his backers that socialized medicine is nothing if it does not take care of all, regardless of station or personal choices.

If a person chooses to chain-smoke cigarettes, it’s fair to say they might have a more burdensome effect on the healthcare system than, say, a professional athlete. So, what to do when both of these patients enter a hospital?

Well, you treat them both. Equally. To the best of your abilities. Because that’s the entire point of socialized medicine.

You don’t claim that one of the patients should have to pay more because they have been a human chimneystack. All pay into the healthcare system, and then the services are distributed according to need. There are no hierarchies here. 

Premier Legault has perhaps forgotten about the principles of socialized services during his extensive private sector career, so it is time for all Canadians to remind him that fines play no part here.

Treat your people as well as you can, regardless of ailments or personal choices. This is the price we have decided to pay when we redistribute wealth through healthcare. It’s time to unflinchingly bear the cost. 

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