Quebec is trying to tax the unvaccinated because the health care system is struggling with Omicron
The Canadian province of Quebec, which is struggling to control the Omicron variant, will introduce a new health tax in the coming weeks on those not vaccinated against Covid-19.
“We are working on a health benefit for all adults who refuse to be vaccinated” because they are a “financial burden for all Quebecois,” said Quebec Prime Minister Francois Legault.
The 10 percent of Quebecois who have not yet received any vaccine doses must not “harm” the 90 percent who have received it, he said.
“It is not at all Quebecois to pay for it,” he said during a news conference, specifying that the government of the French-speaking province wanted the tax to represent a “significant amount”.
“I feel this dissatisfaction with the unvaccinated minority who, all things considered, are blocking our hospitals,” he said.
The Prime Minister of Quebec declared that these 10 percent of unvaccinated adults represent 50 percent of people in intensive care, calling it a “shocking” situation.
He said those who are unvaccinated for medical reasons will be exempted from the move.
A total of 2,742 people with Covid are hospitalized and about 255 people are in intensive care in Quebec, which has about eight million inhabitants.
Hospital admissions also continue to increase in the neighboring province of Ontario, the most populous in Canada, with 3,220 people in hospitals and 477 people in intensive care.
In an effort to stem the tide of coronavirus infections, Quebec announced on December 30 the return of certain restrictions, including a curfew at 10pm and a ban on private gatherings.
And the province had recently announced that non-essential shops are closed to non-vaccinated people, starting with shops selling alcohol and cannabis.
But Eric Duhaime, the leader of Quebec’s conservative opposition party, rejected the provincial government’s anti-Covid strategy and tweeted that the new tax would only “divide” Quebecois.
And the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, Dominique Anglade – who himself is in favor of compulsory vaccination – called the tax a “distraction”.
Although Quebec is the first place to introduce a specific tax, the pressure is mounting on those who remain unvaccinated worldwide.
France has set up its so-called vaccine passport and President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to “pee” the unvaccinated.
Elsewhere in Europe, Austria has prescribed coronavirus vaccines to all citizens, and Italy has done the same for people over the age of 50.
Singapore has said it will no longer cover the cost of Covid treatment for those who have refused the vaccine.
At the federal level, the Canadian government has put forward the idea of depriving the unvaccinated of unemployment benefits.