Canadian Conservatives are at a crossroads

Liam McCurry

Candidates Patrick Brown, left, Leslyn Lewis, Scott Aitchison, Pierre Poilievre, Jean Charest, and Roman Baber pose for photos after the French-language Conservative Leadership debate Wednesday, May 25, 2022, in Laval, Que. Brown was removed from the race in July. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canadian conservatism is a constantly developing ideology. Right now, the party is in the midst of one of the most dramatic changes in its history, if not at least since the Conservative Party of Canada was founded in 2003. 

The transition may be seen as rapid, but the foundation for this shift has been percolating for quite some time. 

The finality of where Canadian conservatism is will be clear on Sept. 10, when the party holds its convention to pick a new leader.  

The reality of Canadian federal politics is that two ideologies dominate the landscape and form government, liberalism and conservatism. Conservatism, liberalism, and democratic socialism exist in the three major parties. The parties have factions within that battle to become the overarching ideological foundation Canadians use to elect a government. 

These foundations shift from time to time, but these foundations for the Conservative Party of Canada could now be shifting significantly. 

Matt James, a political science professor from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, said this conservative leadership race is “by far the most outwardly divisive leadership contest and the most starkly ideological one.” 

Political pundit Penny Collenette — who worked under Jean Chrétien in numerous positions, is a law professor at the University of Ottawa and is a recipient of the Order of Ontario — said in March that this Conservative leadership race is a “battle for the soul of the party.” 

The differing ideologies within the party have been somewhat subdued when the leaders have gotten together on stage for debates. Most are calling for unity and decorum so that when the general election comes around, any damage done during the leadership race has not disqualified the Conservative leader in the election. 

But at times, debate and discourse have boiled over into direct attacks on other candidates.   

Whether it is Jean Charest attacking Pierre Poilievre for supporting the “Freedom Convoy,” Leslyn Lewis attacking Poilievre for not supporting it quick enough, or Poilievre attacking Charest for working with Huawei or challenging his record as Premier of Quebec. 

It led Preston Manning, a Canadian conservative icon, to send a letter to leadership candidates stating fears that attacking each other during the race would deepen divisions within the federal conservatives and be detrimental to the party in a general election.   

The history of Canadian conservative thought is as vast and complex as the country itself and draws influences from outside the borders.  

The party’s recent history is a more robust brand of blue conservatism than the old way of red or blue Tories that thrived by occupying the centre of the political spectrum with some left-leaning policies.  

From Joe Clark to Preston Manning to Jean Charest to Stephen Harper to Pierre Poilievre, there has been an array of ideologies defining conservatism in Canada.

Populism isn’t new in Canadian politics what is different is the feel and intensity, Collenette said. 

Timeline of Conservatism in Canada

Chris Cochrane, a professor of political science at the Munk School of global affairs and public policy at the University of Toronto, said the current brand of conservatism in Canada has an American tinge to it. 

“There is a current of conservatism emanating from the United States,” he said earlier this year. “I don’t think he (Poilievre) is a Donald Trump, but that element of conservatism is a force to be reckoned with.” 

That was seen at the grassroots level when the “Freedom Convoy” occupied the streets of Ottawa for more than three weeks earlier this year. Poilievre is the candidate best able to bridge the gap between true blue conservative and populist type Trump conservative, Cochrane said.  

Poilievre brands himself as unapologetically a straightforward conservative, something other conservatives shied away from over the last 20 years, he said. 

In the past, conservative leaders in North America didn’t want to portray themselves as hardline true-blue leaders. George W. Bush called his brand compassionate conservatism, and Stephen Harper called his incremental conservatism, Cochrane said.  

Canadian Conservatives have moved away from the party that traditionally worked to preserve what has worked in the past and shied away from being expansionary or visionary.  

This leadership race could change the fabric of the party, remaking in ideational terms if Poilievre wins the leadership, Cochrane said. The candidate has a broader vision than simply reacting to Liberal policy proposals.

Traditional values such as less spending and limited government have stayed the cornerstones of conservatism in Canada and will continue to after this leadership race, he said.

There is a bit of a paradox, maybe it’s the unapologetic nature or toughness being displayed by some candidates, but conservatism still leans on those values of limited government and less spending. Still, Poilievre and candidate Roman Baber make true blue Tories like Preston Manning and Brian Mulroney look more like their red Tory counterparts. 

During the May 5 debate in Ottawa, Baber said, “we can’t run to the right during leadership, and the left during the general election.”

Charest and Scott Aitchison say they want to unite the country, while Baber, Lewis, and Poilievre have set out to make Canada “the freest nation on earth.”  

Moving on the fly in the general election could cost a leader their job. Just ask Erin O’Toole. 

O’Toole campaigned as a true-blue conservative but became more progressive after he was picked as the leader in 2020, Cochrane said. 

Hugh Segal, the former chief of staff to Brian Mulroney and author of The Right Balance, said in his book that the loss of “perspective on any issue is the most unpardonable sin for any conservative.” 

Victoria University’s James agrees.

“Changes in ideology influence the party could influence ideology,” he said. “It is difficult to disentangle the ideology and the party. 

Andrew McDougall, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said the party has some historical divides geographically and division between fiscal and social conservatives. Western Canadian conservatives are “more individualistic and less communitarian and more socially conservative in many ways.”  

The new split in the party appears to be those who are sympathetic to the trucker message and everyone else, he said. This has created an environment where social conservatism seems to have taken hold in the party. 

Harper was sympathetic to the views of social conservatism but was able to keep those voices somewhat subdued when he was leader, McDougall said.   

But the re-emergence of social conservatism is not all that surprising. Maxime Bernier was one per cent off winning the leadership of the Conservative Party before he splintered off and founded the People’s Party of Canada, taking a few percentage points of the popular vote with him in the 2019 general election.

This makes Poilievre “perfectly positioned” to take some of these Conservative votes, Cochrane said.

On paper, the ideology of a conservative like Poilievre does not seem to command significant support from Canadians at large, James said.   

But elections are hardly ever won on ideology alone, he said. 

The factors that go into a general election are immense, including favourable media coverage, public perception of the leader, possibly a general feeling of fatigue, and overall campaign strategy are almost always more critical factors to win an election in Canada, James said. 

“If Conservatives win or lose the next election, it will not be because of ideology,” he said. The ground for this battle between progressive and social conservatism had been laid down well before this leadership race, James said. 

The previous leadership races, especially the one that picked O’Toole, foreshadowed this coming age of this version of Canadian conservatism, he said. 

Poilievre, “running as someone who is almost sympathetic to conspiracy theories does not seem to be holding him back,” McDougall said. 

When the leadership race concludes on Sept. 10, all Canadians will have a clearer understanding of conservatism in Canada.  

How will the ‘Freedom Convoy’ affect the Ontario provincial election?

Photo Credit/ Liam McCurry. Freedom Convoy supporters at Vaughan Mills as the convoy passes through Toronto, Ont.

While Ontario Premier Doug Ford was announcing the removal of tolls on highways in the Durham region, a massive police response to the occupation of Ottawa began.

By the end of the weekend, thousands of police officers from across the country had arrested some 170 protesters and removed hundreds of vehicles that had ground the downtown core of Ottawa to a halt for weeks.

Sam Andrey, the director of policy and research at the Ryerson Leadership Lab in Toronto, Ont., said, “the Ford government, despite Ottawa being in Ontario, sort of got away with taking a back seat on it, even though policing is their jurisdiction.”

“The feds felt compelled to invoke the emergencies act because when the province did it, it didn’t have its intended effect.”

Robert Bothwell, a historian and professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, called the convoy an “insoluble dilemma.”

“The basis for conversation is absent. There are no common facts,” he said.   

The provincial party and their leaders had a hard time cutting through the noise during the freedom convoy fighting with many stakeholders and storylines, Andrey said.

There is speculation that Ford and his cabinet must be at odds with each other on what to do with anti-vax protests. Cabinet meetings go on for long periods must mean there is some disagreement on how to react, Bothwell said.

Could there be an opportunity here for the smaller fringe parties of Ontario?

It’s possible the Freedom Convoy’s coverage increased the number of people aware and sympathetic to the cause, but it is also likely their actions turned people off as well, Andrey said.

He also believes there are more questions than answers surrounding the small fringe parties such as the New Blue party of Ontario or the Ontario Party.

“Will they have candidates in every riding? If you assume that’s the voting base of the parties, will they split it even further?” Andrey asked. 

“I think you saw it play out federally with the Peoples Party that got a notable number of votes but still relatively small,” Andrey said.

These parties may try to create a wedge in right thinking conservatives, these parties will run almost exclusively on anti-vaccine, and against restriction measures, he said.

Andrey said it’s not very likely any of these parties will win a seat. But it still is “a noteworthy phenomenon.”

Election donations tell a similar story. The Ontario Party has a similar amount of 2022 donors and funding as the Green Party of Ontario, and the New Blue Party is lagging both in the number of donors and the amount of funds raised.

“Party membership does not mean party activism. What you need is people who will actually pound the pavement,” Bothwell said.

The current leadership for anti-lockdown measures is suspect, he said.

Randy Hillier, an MPP that, was kicked out of the conservative caucus and a prominent voice against public health measures. He mirrors the extreme problems with the right-wing in the U.S., “the delusions are pretty well the same,” Bothwell said.

Ford’s latest approval ratings from the Angus Reid Institute show he is currently at the lowest of his tenure, with a 30 per cent approval rating as of Jan. 2022.

“I do think Ford will try to end restrictions to try and scoop up votes that could’ve gone to the other parties, but still will come at a time when restrictions would’ve been lifted anyway,” Andrey said. “And try to position the other parties as the parties of lockdowns.”

The fringe parties will undoubtedly claim these lifting of restrictions as a win for the anti-public health measures movement, he said.

“They haven’t announced enough of their plan to know where they are running and know exactly how much of a factor they will be,” Andrey said.

A problem for Ford would be if a new variant or any backsliding could change the campaign come May, he said.

Evidently, the province took a back seat in their jurisdiction to the federal government. Maybe they didn’t want to be the bad guy, “I’m not sure if the rest of the province will remember that, but certainly Ottawa will,” Andrey said.

Zelenskyy addresses Canadian Parliament asking for help, no-fly zone

Courtesy: Government of Canada

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged that Canadian politicians “need to do more” against Russia during a virtual address to the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Zelenskyy came with a message and a request, “please do not stop in your efforts. Please expand your efforts to bring back peace in our peaceful country.”

The President explained to Parliament the difficulties facing Ukraine.

“Imagine cruise missiles falling down, and your children asking you, ‘what happened?’” he said.

“Dear Justin, dear guests: can you imagine that every day you see memorandums about the number of casualties, including among women and children? You heard about the bombings: currently, we have 97 children that died during this war,” Zelenskyy told the House.

Canadian politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Interim Opposition Leader Candice Bergen, each expressed their gratitude to the Ukrainian president for his courageous leadership against Russia and in the defence of democracy.

Arguably the most moving response to Zelenskyy came from Green Party member Elizabeth May, who urged the world to find the tools needed to achieve peace.

Zelenskyy acknowledged the House for supporting Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid and “serious” sanctions on Russia, but he also pled with them to, “please, close the sky.”

David Cortright, a peace scholar, author, and director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, was not optimistic Canada would grant Zelenskyy’s request to close the sky.

He called it a “non-starter” with “potentially horrendous consequences.”

Robert Austin, a professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, who specialises in eastern European politics and relations, said granting a no-fly zone would be considered, “an act of war,” and would, “widen the war immediately.”

Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen said Canada and its allies must do more to at least secure some air space to allow refugees to flee the country.

“We need to protect, at a minimum, the airspace over the humanitarian corridors,” she said.

Canadians are split over supporting a no-fly zone over Ukraine. A Leger survey of 1,515 Canadian adults conducted between March 11 and 13 found 47 per cent would support a no-fly zone over Ukraine, even if it risks escalating the conflict. The survey reported a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent.

Zelenskyy also called for stiffer sanctions against Russia as current military support and sanctions imposed on Russia by Canada and its NATO allies “unfortunately, did not bring an end to the war.

“Increase sanctions so they will not have a single dollar to fund their war effort,” he said.

Cortright agreed, saying that a continuing enforcement of sanctions is important.

But Austin said increased sanctions might just be what Putin was preparing for, as “isolation is a long-term goal” along with eliminating all western influence. It could assist Russia in anchoring itself into a new reality.

Deflecting blame for the hardships the Russian people will face on the west, will become a problem, if it isn’t already, Cortright said.

Today, the average Russian is facing severe repercussions from the Kremlin for any dissenting opinion, he said.

Although Cortright is optimistic diplomatic channels to peace have remained open, others such as Austin and Zelenskyy don’t share the same feelings toward the on-going peace talks.

“Peace talks are a fraud,” Austin said, “Russia is not willing to put anything on the table that Ukrainians can swallow.”

The bombing of civilian targets reveals Putin’s goal, and that is not to build a relationship with Ukraine, he said.

Zelenskyy was blunt in his assessment of Russian initiatives in Ukraine in his address to the House.

“It’s an attempt to annihilate the Ukrainian people, an attempt to destroy everything that we as Ukrainians do,” he told the House. “It’s an attempt to destroy our future, to destroy our nation, our character.

“This is their main objective,” he said.

Canadians struggle with mental health worsens as COVID-19 continues: survey

Credit: Pexels/Tima Miroshnichenko

A recent Angus Reid survey found more than a third of Canadians are struggling with their mental health.

The survey of 1,509 Canadians between Jan. 18 and 20 reported that 36 per cent reported mental health struggles before Omicron became the dominant variant. That reflects an increase of more than 10 per cent since the variant became the dominant COVID-19 strain in mid-December, the survey said.

The survey also found 23 per cent of Canadians are twice as likely to report they are feeling “depressed,” compared to the 12 per cent who would say they’re happy.

The online survey, which reported a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent, found Canadians are seeing struggles with anxiety worsen within their families and social circles as the pandemic drags on.

In addition, 66 per cent of respondents reported depression and anxiety in their social circles worsened during the pandemic, and 35 per cent indicated it’s a significant problem in their circle.

Canadians are pessimistic about the outlook for 2022. Seven per cent say they are “barely getting by,” and half of Canadians, 51 per cent, believe the pandemic will not end in 2022, the survey said.

Dr. Melanie Badali, a registered psychologist at North Shore Stress and Anxiety Clinic in Vancouver, B.C., doesn’t put all the blame on Omicron and COVID-19.

“Mental health and illness do not occur in a vacuum,” Badali said. “When we talk about mental health, we need to consider social determinants, economic factors, other health status, racism, gender identity, sexual orientation, culture, and generation, among other factors.

“There are multiple intersections of wellbeing and factors beyond an individual’s control,” she said.

This has created issues for people who care for others, said Dr. Taslim Alani-Verjee, the founder, director and clinical psychologist for Silm Centre for Mental Health in North York, Ont.

She said caregiver burnout is an issue that has been exacerbated during the pandemic.

Alani-Verjee said there is less predictability and more stress.

“We all just have our own stuff. And it makes it so much harder to take care of other people’s stuff,” she said.

But, doing the little things such as making a meal or ensuring a caregiver is taking care of themselves goes a long way, Alani-Verjee said.

A key is providing anyone who needs it a space to feel their feelings and not trying to change the way they are feeling, she said.

“It’s not our job to cheer people up, it’s not our job to help them see the bright side,” Alain-Verjee said. “It’s all perspective but, if a situation is crummy or the situation is hard, they are allowed to feel crummy and frustrated about it, make sure they feel that their emotions are ok and valid.”

Gender and age gaps among those who seek or receive help persist in Canada. Something that is not uncommon but hopefully is changing, Alani-Verjee said.

Canadians over 55 are less likely to open up to friends or loved ones about mental health, and men in general are less likely to talk about these types of issues, the survey said.

“There is a lot of stigma around men’s mental health, especially among certain age groups and cultural groups. It’s up to us to help reduce the stigma,” Badali said.

Alani-Verjee said she is more likely to see women and younger people at her practice. However, she said she has recently seen more referrals for older men during the pandemic.

“Men are socialized not to pay attention to their emotions and push through to be strong and tough,” she said. “The idea of needing to talk to someone about feeling is new, uncomfortable.

“The capacity to be strong and to just get through it is starting to wane and men are realizing that is not a sustainable strategy for them,” Alani-Verjee said.

She hopes mental health care will continue to be a priority after the pandemic but says there are barriers to care she wants to see addressed, hopefully by the government.

Alani-Verjee said there should be more subsidised mental health care and mental health coverage by OHIP, or at least greater access to mental health care for individuals under a certain income bracket.

People in the community are struggling, and doctors, including Alani-Verjee, see people for free, something she said is not sustainable.

Other health professions don’t have these financial barriers that exist within mental health care, Alani-Verjee said

“I would love to see the government do something about that,” she said.

Biden seeks to sway key Dems in senate vote to protect voting rights

Courtesy: White House

By: Liam McCurry

U.S. President Joe Biden issued a bipartisan warning to lawmakers: history has not been kind to those who work to suppress the right to vote.

Despite his promise to challenge the voting restrictions in front of students and reporters at the Atlanta University Center Consortium on Jan. 11, those who support at least 33 state-level laws stemming voting remain defiant.

Also notably absent were leaders and activists from the voting rights movement.

Cliff Albright, a co-founder of Black Votes Matter, said he’s tired of words.

“What we need now is action,” he said on Twitter.

Biden, acknowledging his silence the previous year in the fight for equal voting rights, agreed. “I’m tired of being quiet,” he said.

Last year 19 states enacted laws that restrict voting rights. This year, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris said they are willing to fight back, by any means necessary, against attacks on voting rights in the United States.

What used to be a bipartisan issue has become increasingly partisan and in recent years the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Act of 1965 in a 2013 ruling, Biden said. The ruling allows states to alter their voting and election laws without prior approval from the federal government.

The recent laws subvert elections to “turn the will of voters into a mere suggestion,” he said.

Biden called the new laws Jim Crow 2.0 by promoting voter suppression and voter subversion.

Georgia is one of the 19 states that have made voting by mail or by drop box more difficult and with the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the state made the location fitting for the address, said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary.

Biden, a self-proclaimed institutionalist, is willing to change Senate rules, specifically the “arcane” filibuster, to ensure two voting rights bills are enacted, he said.

Without amending the filibuster’s 60 vote threshold, Biden and company run the risk of having their voting rights bills obstructed and delayed by the filibuster and republican senators.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has shown support for changing the rules

“The filibuster has shut down debate,” he said, “It’s designed for people who want to say no.”

“That’s what the filibuster is all about. It’s stopping us from doing anything substantial on voting rights,” Durbin said.

Amending the Senate rules around the filibuster has created a major roadblock to success for Biden, particularly by two democratic members of the Senate, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Although Sinema and Manchin support voting rights bills overall, they do not want to see the filibuster weakened.

Sinema made a statement Jan. 13 that all but killed proposed amendments to the Senate rules.

“I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country,” Sinema said.

Biden spoke with Democratic senators on Jan. 13 to further convey his message, Psaki said.

In a midterm election year, Biden views this fight as a defining moment for his presidency.

“The battle for the soul of America is not over,” Biden said. “Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? John Lewis or Bull Connor? Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?

“This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy,” he said.

Sister of Slain Anthony Spencer Pleads to friends of Victim

By: Liam McCurry

Susan Spencer remembers her brother, Anthony, as “always smiling” and “he looks like he didn’t have a problem in the world.”

But she also spoke calmly yet firmly to the friends of her murdered brother, who were with him when he was gunned down on Monday but have so far failed to help police with the investigation.

 “I’m asking and begging anyone, especially his friends, he invited you into his life to be his friend, please show your loyalty in coming forward and bringing forth the person who is responsible for taking my brother’s life,” Susan said.

Anthony, 23, a father of a daughter, was shot at close range on Monday in a recording studio at Brimley Road and Lawrence Avenue East just before 5 a.m.   

Homicide Detective Sargent Gary Giroux said Anthony was “executed.”

Anthony’s friends carried him out of the studio into a waiting car where they drove him to Scarborough General Hospital, where they left him, he said.

Witnessing a murder of a close friend is an undoubtedly a traumatic event Giroux said.

But, “community safety is a shared responsibility between the police and the community,” he said.

Witness participation is the number one challenge facing the homicide division, Giroux said.

Giroux asked the Anthony’s friends to show their “affection and loyalty” to Anthony by coming forward to help police get these dangerous individuals off the streets.

Anthony was not a known member of any gang. Susan can’t comprehend why anyone would kill her brother other than, “envy and hate, someone that just wanted to eliminate his happiness, because they don’t have it,” she told reporter at Toronto Police headquarters.

Susan has spoken with Anthony’s friends.

“And all they said to me was lies, I need to hear them tell me the truth,” she said.

Susan says fear is the reason why the friends of Anthony haven’t come forward but doesn’t understand why the love his friends had for Anthony hasn’t outweighed that dread.

“He’s missing and we need to know,” Susan said.

“I know were a better world, we can come together and fix this” she said

Susan said her family and Anthony’s daughter need closure. She begged Anthony’s friends to come forward.

“You’re supposed to have each other’s back,” she said. 

Police say they are still waiting for a warrant to search the studio. They hope to have it within 24 hours Giroux said. He said they will be looking for recordings, shell casings and then letting the forensics team collect evidence. There was a delay acquiring a warrant because there was a “delay in determining where the scene was,” Giroux said.

The murderer was comfortable enough to commit this crime in front of witnesses leads Giroux to believe that there are dangerous individuals in the community, “that think they have got away with it.”

Susan and the police are hoping this targeted witness appeal convinces Anthony’s friends to come forward. “Please remember Anthony, he’s not just another name in the newspaper,” Susan said.

Disclaimer. The murder of Anthony Spencer was in 2012, this piece was written in 2021.

Province to Require Proof of Vaccination

By: Liam McCurry

Doug Ford Premier of Ontario

By Bruce Reeve – https://www.flickr.com/photos/58609798@N00/13912079946/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66924228

The province announced people will require proof of full vaccination to enter select indoor settings beginning Sept. 22.

Full vaccination is two doses plus two weeks since the second dose. The businesses affected by this mandate include restaurants, gyms and sporting venues the province said in a media release.

To enter any of the listed public settings one must provide proof of full vaccination and photo issued ID, the province said.

The highly contagious delta variant has forced Ford to make this decision and implement the vaccine passport.

Nightclubs, casinos, strip clubs, racing venues, banquet venues, concerts and musical festivals will all require proof of vaccination, the release said the only exemptions are outdoor patios at restaurants and youth recreational facilities, said the province. 

Premier Doug Ford said the vaccine passport is a necessary measure although he was originally against the idea of a vaccination requirement. He blamed the federal government for not stepping in and creating a national vaccination passport.

“It would have been much easier if we had one passport federal passport, we could utilize for travelling utilize for going into restaurants or other areas, that never happened. We’ve stepped up,” Ford said.

Ultimately, Ford had to decide whether or not to go ahead with the vaccine passport or risk another shutdown during the fourth wave.

 “If we don’t take these steps, there’s nothing worse than shutting down the entire economy and we are going to do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Ford said.

Andrea Horwath, NDP leader and leader of the official opposition, was not happy this policy was implemented so late in the fourth wave.

“We should already have vaccine certificates in Ontario, Doug Ford keeps dragging his feet, playing politics with public health and doing the bare minimum,” Horwath said.

The certificate requirement doesn’t extend to staff of the businesses affected, butit leaves the decision to the employer whether or not to enforce a vaccine mandate on employees.

Horwath calls the policy loophole a “head scratcher” putting yet another burden on businesses. 

She called out Ford again for his inaction whole opposition parties campaigned in favour of a vaccine certificate.

“Ford seems to be more interested in not offending anti-vaxxers than in protecting Ontarians,” Horwath said.

 The Liberals called it, “long overdue” and the Green Party described the passport as being, “months late.”

 Salons and barbershops have been closed for months during the pandemic are not required to have customers show proof of vaccination to enter, the province said.   

The mandate targets indoor areas where large groups gather and places wearing a mask isn’t always possible, Ford said.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to stay healthy, the province said.

“COVID-19 vaccine certificates give us the best chance to slow the spread of the virus while helping us avoid further lockdowns,” Ford said. “If you haven’t received your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please do so today.”

Disclaimer. This post was originally written Oct. 6 2021