Premier François Legault recently announced that unvaccinated Quebecers are going to be charged a "significant" fee if they refuse to get at least their first dose in the next few weeks unless they have a medical reason not to.
The premier began by saying that the Government of Quebec will "reach out one by one" to the 600,000 adults who have not yet received a vaccine dose to inform them about the fee and ensure that the person is not in a vulnerable situation and has good reasons to refuse the vaccine.
"The objective, indeed, is to be able to have a list of people who refuse to be vaccinated, not for medical reasons, not because they don't speak French or because they don't have access to vaccines. And these people, if they really refuse, given that they bring an enormous burden on the health care system, I think it is normal that they pay a contribution," Legault stated
How much such will cost has not been announced yet, nor is it known exactly what form it will take. The "health contribution" was compared on the program to a "fine" received for running a red light.
Guy A. Lepage, one of the show's hosts, asked Mr. Legault how the government was going to get the list of non-vaccinated people, since patients' medical information is supposed to be protected by confidentiality.
Government lawyers are working on this and a bill is expected to be debated with the opposition parties in the National Assembly in early February, which is when we'll find out how much the fee would cost.
According to Legault, if important surgeries are postponed, it is "often because of the non-vaccinated."
"One person going into intensive care can cost up to $50,000. Multiply that [by] a few hundred non-vaccinated people continually adding up, it's a lot of money, but it's mostly a risk for all the people who have their surgeries postponed."
In the latest turn of events in the mounting national opposition to Quebec's controversial Bill 21, Toronto Mayor John Tory said that Toronto's city council will vote on a motion to help fund legal battles against the law, which bans many public servants from wearing religious symbols while performing their duties.
Tory also voiced his personal opposition to Bill 21 in a statement published on Twitter. "I continue to be opposed to Quebec's Bill 21. Today, I will ask City Council to help fund the legal fight against Bill 21," the mayor wrote.
I continue to be opposed to Quebec's Bill 21. Toronto City Council has also repeatedly voiced its opposition to this bill. Today, I will ask City Council to help fund the legal fight against Bill 21.pic.twitter.com/TyekKVJ2NX
This news follows a recent letter published by Brampton, Ontario mayor Patrick Brown in which he implores mayors across Canada to consider pooling their cities' financial resources to help "fight Bill 21 in the courts."
Mayor Tory said Thursday that he stands with Brown and "[encourages] other cities across Canada to join this fight to uphold the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."
In the past week, Quebec has been under fire for applying Bill 21 to remove elementary school teacher Fatemeh Anvari, who wears a hijab, from her position in the city of Chelsea. The incident prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to speak out against the law.
"I don't find that in a free and open society that someone should lose their job because of their religion," Trudeau said at a press conference on Monday.
Quebec Premier François Legault clapped back, insisting laws need to be enforced. He said the local school board made a mistake by hiring Anvari.
What will Legault have to say about this latest move by Tory?
Over the past year, two Quebecers, Florence-Olivia and Marie-Emmanuelle Genesse, started The.SisOfficial platform on both TikTok and Instagram, where they share information from their research on violence against women.
One of their TikTok videos, which showcased a hand gesture for individuals to use when they're experiencing violence at home, went viral and was shared with a caption saying, "This can save lives." And it turns out it did.
MTL Blog got the chance to speak with the creators of The.SisOffical platform on their background in research about violence against women and the importance of sharing different signals with the public. You can read our interview below.
What made you start The.SisOfficial account?
We started The.SisOfficial a bit more than a year ago, when Covid started and we were both at home because [our] school was now fully online. Flo is doing her Masters in Legal Philosophy (her area of research is sexual violence) at Johns Hopkins University and Emma is doing her Masters in Feminist Philosophy at Concordia University and her research focuses on domestic violence. We wanted to find a way to share our research with as many people as possible, but in a way that everyone would be able to understand and enjoy learning about these facts.
Sometimes, philosophy and research on violence against women can be difficult to understand, so we wanted to create a platform where people could go to get educated on these important issues, while not having to read hundreds of pages or research.
When we saw that some people were getting millions of views to dance on TikTok, we decided to combine our dance background (we danced semi-professionally for 18 years) with our research so that these millions of views could also help save lives and educate people.
We did not expect the platform to grow as much as it did, but we are so happy that our work can have an impact on women's lives. We have received many testimonies where young girls and women told us about their stories and that seeing our page has helped them in many ways.
We also receive messages from men saying they did not know they could be feminist as men and that we have helped them see that the word 'feminist' is not a bad word, but rather the basic notion that women should be treated as human too.
How did you learn about the hand signal? Why did you think it was important to share it?
As violence against women researchers, we are always on the lookout for signals, hand signs or new ways to incorporate in daily life safety tools to help women, so we were already aware of this hand signal for domestic abuse (which comes from the Canadian Women's Foundation).
For us, it is important to discuss violence against women as much as possible because it is very often taboo in society. To have a platform like we have with The.SisOfficial (350K followers on TikTok and almost 50K on Instagram) means that we have a duty to share these hand signals and safety tips for women, but also so that other people will recognize it and [be] able to help them, like with that happened in the US recently.
It was important for us to share it in a manner that was also like a real-life situation (we reenacted a FaceTime call) because since COVID-19, women are more than ever stuck at home with their abusers and FaceTimes are very often their only way to communicate with people outside their home.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
There's magic in the air and the jingle bells are ringing — wait a minute. It's not Christmas, so what's going on? You're not hallucinating, you're just in Blainville on Montreal's North Shore, taking in the town's Christmas in July celebrations.
During your visit, you'll cross into an illuminated tunnel that'll transport you to a Christmas playground complete with elves, lit-up trees, and other giant decorations including a 25-foot-tall Christmas tree.
There is also a traditional Christmas market, so you can buy your gifts early. VERY early.
Blainville residents have even decorated their homes with Christmas lights to really immerse visitors in the Christmas spirit.
The site is open by reservation only during three time slots: 8:30 p.m., 9:15 p.m. or 10 p.m. You will have 45 minutes to stroll the area and take in all the wonderful sights.