Maxime Bernier: An Endorsement


Max Bernier

Everybody seems to be endorsing someone in the current Canadian federal election, over the last few days. Probably nobody cares; I’m just a guy; but it is time to again endorse Maxime Bernier.

Erin O’Toole has been warning against vote-splitting on the right. “If you want to get rid of Justin Trudeau, there’s only one choice.” This does not sound reasonable. O’Toole has run on a platform barely distinguishable from Trudeau’s; that makes the stakes trivial. Moreover, if the polls are right, we are going to get a minority government. If it is a Tory majority, they are going to need the cooperation of the NDP or Bloc to stay in power; this will pull them further left. 

So why waste your vote?

A vote for the PPC that is a vote for change. If we can get PPC representation in parliament, we can change the political discourse. We will start pulling the debate to the right, just as the NDP and the CCF before it have pulled it to the left for so long. Making the Liberals the Natural Governing Party.

I actually do not care much about Bernier’s signature issue this iteration, opposition to vaccine mandates. I do not think vaccine mandates are that sinister. They are an imposition on our freedom, but they seem reasonable; even Jason Kenney explains “we have run out of options.” As with the War Measures Act, when the emergency passes, such restrictions have always in the past been rescinded.

What does alarm me is the tendency to scapegoat the unvaccinated. A recent correspondent wrote “They’re not listening to the bells in any temple except their own. They cling to their ‘rights’ without any corresponding sense of ‘responsibility’ to the wider community. And yet, they’re the ones currently clogging our hospital systems.”

Logically, if the vaccines work, there is no reason to worry about anyone else being vaccinated, so long as you are. If the vaccines do not work, there is no reason to get vaccinated. 

So the issue is only the secondary one of “crowding the ICUs.” Others might miss treatments. Politicians like Trudeau are lying and stirring up hate by suggesting it is more than this. The appeal is “fifteen days to slow the spread.” Oops, sorry, make that eighteen months and counting.

But it is ambitious to expect many more than 72.9%–the current figure–to agree to vaccination. For some people—kids, for example, or people with allergies—the risk of vaccination is greater than the risk from the virus. Others will have phobias about vaccinations; phobia is not trivial. Others, especially racial minorities, do not trust the health system or the government. Do we want to target racial minorities for general condemnation?

The bottom line is, we are probably near the limit of what we can accomplish without coercive measures. Coercive measures are not warranted, and must be anathema. So insisting on vaccination rates higher than this may only be postponing our return to normalcy indefinitely.

But we are also near the limit we were told would lead to at least partial herd immunity; the more so when you realize that some of the unvaccinated will have already had COVID. Presumably, at 72.9%, almost everyone at high risk has been vaccinated. The wisest course might be to drop all restrictions and let the virus itself give us herd immunity quickly. The UK government seems to have decided on this course. 

Whether we do this or not, that it is a reasonable option means it is a misdirection to blame the continued lockdowns or the persistence of the virus on the unvaccinated.

The idea is being pushed aggressively by politicians and health officials, I suspect, because they have a tiger by the tail. If they lift restrictions, cases will spike for a time, and they will be blamed. Jason Kenney is living through this nightmare now in Alberta. If they continue the restrictions, people will blame them as they lose their savings, lose their jobs, lose their businesses, lose their homes, inflation gets worse and food becomes a problem too. Those in charge need a scapegoat, to deflect blame from themselves, and to avoid having to make a tough decision. “The unvaccinated” serves their purpose.

We ought not to fall for it. For one thing, if we do, innocents will suffer. For another, so long as we do, lockdowns will probably continue, as no politician has the nerve to end them.

Bernier says he will end them.

And his other policies are even better.

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