Jason Magder

August 5, 2021

-Montreal Gazette


Premier François Legault announced Thursday that Quebec will go ahead with a vaccination passport to allow those who have received two doses to continue to “live a normal life.”

Legault said he was alarmed about an uptick in cases in recent days, saying it is the beginning of a fourth wave. He indicated that he expects hospitalizations and deaths to increase in the coming weeks.

“I want to be very clear: if you don’t have specific reasons that a vaccination could threaten your health, you are putting yourself at risk by not getting your two doses of vaccine,” Legault said. “You’re also putting all of society at risk. If we don’t want to add to the deaths, if we don’t want to overwhelm hospitals, I am asking all Quebecers — it’s a question of solidarity — to go get your two doses.”

Speaking to the media for the first time since taking time off, Legault took aim at unvaccinated Quebecers Thursday, saying they will lose privileges if they don’t get their two doses. He said the passport will allow those who are vaccinated to prove their status and gain access to non-essential services.

Legault said the details of the passport will be unveiled by Health Minister Christian Dubé in the coming days.

Despite the recent spike in cases, Legault says he’s sticking by the plan to have all students — in elementary schools, high schools, CEGEPs and universities — attend in person this fall. However, he said with the rise in cases, and the expected rise in hospitalization to follow, the province is revisiting its pledge last spring to have all elementary and high school students return without a mask mandate this September.

Legault said, however, that all students, vaccinated or not, will be permitted to return to in-person classes, from elementary school right up to university.

“The objective is for back to school to be in person,” he said. “There will be maybe some measures, and we will announce them in the coming days.”

Speaking to reporters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will do his part to ensure that there are more people vaccinated within the federal government.

“We’re speaking with the clerk of the Privy Council to see if we can put in place a mandatory vaccine order,” he said. “But we recognize that in some industries regulated by the federal government, like air and train travel, it could be of interest to require vaccination.”

Reacting to the passport idea, Québec solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said he is disappointed Legault announced the idea before debating it in a parliamentary commission.

“The passport is a measure that should have been discussed publicly and with experts,” Nadeau-Dubois said. “We are anxious to see what the modalities of this passport will be.”