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MP Marcus Powlowski condones Quebec's plan to tax unvaccinated residents

The Liberal MP says governments already tax people for other things that are detrimental to society.
Marcus Powlowski
Marcus Powlowsk is the Liberal Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Rainy River (TBNewswatch file)

THUNDER BAY — MP Marcus Powlowski says he has no problem with Quebec's plan to impose a special tax on people without medical exemptions who refuse vaccination against COVID-19.

Powlowski, who's a medical doctor, suggested in an interview Monday that it's no different from taxing people who use alcohol or tobacco.

"That's kind of a standard public health tactic. With non-health things, like the carbon tax, it's a similar way to try to influence people's behaviour. That's what governments do. You tax things that are detrimental to society, things that are going to cost other people money," he said.

Powlowski noted that Quebec Premier Francois Legault has not released details of his plan, and that he would oppose any move to force people to pay their own bill or pay a penalty on arrival at the hospital.

However, he feels a tax is an appropriate way to deal with the situation. 

"We're not talking about throwing people in jail for not getting vaccinated. We're not talking about going down and sticking a needle in their arm...The majority of people who are hospitalized because of COVID are people who aren't vaccinated."

According to Powlowski, these individuals are harming their fellow citizens.

"It's leading to the [government-mandated] shutdowns...businesses are closed. People's surgeries and investigations for cancers are getting cancelled. We're all paying a big price."

The Liberal MP said it's totally reasonable for the government to ask that those who are contributing to these problems "pay a little bit more."

He believes imposing a tax would not constitute a violation of the Canada Health Act.

Prime Minister Trudeau has said Ottawa is waiting for more details on Quebec's plan and will review it.

However, former Quebec Premier Jean Charest said on the weekend that the federal government is extremely unlikely to intervene in any case

“Do they want to be on the side...or be seen as on the side of the anti-vaxxers?…Intervening directly within the health-care system of Quebec? That would be frankly, that would be a very bad move on their side,” Charest said Sunday on CTV's Question Period.

Premier Legault has said a tax of $100 would not be a "significant" enough penalty in his opinion.

On Monday, Greece mandated vaccinations for everyone over 60. 

Those who refuse to get the vaccine will face penalties starting with a 50-euro ($71 CAD) fine this month, followed by a monthly fine of 100 euros ($142 CAD) after that.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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