An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WHAT ARE WE TO THINK when civic politicians won’t take the jab?
Civic governments are trying to decide whether to join the mandatory vaccination train for their employees, which raises the issue of whether members of City councils should get on board, too.
The self-mandating of vaccinations by public bodies is a sticky issue. MPs and MLAs have done it but Vancouver council, while philosophically supporting the jab for itself, refuses to make it compulsory. Richmond, on the other hand, voted Monday to mandate vaccinations both for staff and council. Burnaby council is thinking it over.
In Kamloops, City management will require staff to be double vaccinated by Dec. 15. Since council members aren’t City employees, they would have to make their own policy.
Coun. Denis Walsh thinks forcing anyone — whether employees or politicians — to be vaccinated if they want to keep working is interference with “bodily autonomy.”
“I definitely think that mandating is unethical whether you’re a council or an employee,” he told me.
He’s no stranger to COVID-19, having contracted it last March and, thankfully, getting through it without serious illness.
Due to pre-existing medical conditions and a belief in “natural immunity,” Walsh hasn’t taken the jab.
Many politicians, from prime minister to small-town mayors, have very publicly had the jab in order to encourage others to do it. We’ve seen them on TV during the photo ops.
But that’s different than officially requiring colleagues to be vaccinated in order to enter council chambers and take care of business. And there’s the question of whether they could participate remotely for an indefinite period.
There may or may not be legal issues around a City council legislating mandatory vaccinations for its members, but maybe that’s not even the point.
The people who represent us are supposed to be leaders. They can either lead us in the wrong direction, or lead by example and help get us safely through this pandemic.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEASER: If municipal politicians want to mandate the jab for civic workers…. should they mandate it for themselves as well?…. Taking a shot… on the Armchair Mayor.