Liberal MPs support for Trudeau’s Covid-19 travel mandates plummet as a “massive majority” want the federal government to drop travel vaccination requirements.
Most members of the caucus now want all federal pandemic restrictions lifted as quickly as possible, according to The Hill Times.
With frustrations raging at the airport because of delays, Friday June 10, 2022, Liberals suspend random COVID testing at airports as a way to try and speed up airport processing times.
“As part of the structured plan to move COVID-19 testing out of airports, from June 11 at 12:01 a.m. (EDT) to June 30, 2022, the Government of Canada is temporarily suspending mandatory random arrival testing at all airports for travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated.”. However there is no change to mandatory random arrival testing at land borders and arrival testing for travellers who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated and are allowed entry into Canada.
“The massive majority of Liberal MPs want the mandates to end,” said one Liberal MP who spoke on not-for-attribution basis to offer their candid opinion.
“People are saying ‘What the hell, why are [unvaccinated] people not allowed to fly domestic, you know, like, at least let them fly domestic with masks on. You can go into a shopping mall with them, you can go into an elevator with them, you can go into a movie theatre with them.”
Three-term Liberal MP Marcus Powlowski (Thunder Bay-Rainy River, Ont.), a medical doctor and a member of the Health Committee, said the vaccine mandate for air travel should be removed.
“The need for mandates has certainly changed and the calculus is not the same now as it was two months ago, three months, or six months ago,” he said in an interview with The Hill Times. “I would suggest that the vaccine requirements for being on planes and at workplaces at the moment, I don’t think the benefits of that mandate warrant the cost.”
“On the other hand, the mask mandate for flying, for example, I think is still warranted, if you’re gonna sit beside someone for two hours or six hours,” he said. “It’s everyone, whether you’re vaccinated or [not], and especially if you’re going to put a bunch of people on the plane, some of whom are non-vaccinated and things, then there is increased risk. So I would probably keep the mask mandate, that would be my opinion.”
Several Liberal MPs told The Hill Times that the issue has come up several times during caucus meetings, including presentations by Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s former chief health officer and now Liberal MP for Yukon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet members, on the other hand, have not provided sufficient explanations for why their discriminatory mandates remain in place.
“There’s never any straight or particularly convincing answer, I would say, let’s just leave it at that,” a second MP said.
“The answer is, ‘We’re listening to science and experts,'” the anonymous MP said. “That’s been the message from the very beginning.”
“People are comparing our jurisdiction to international jurisdictions: I don’t think there’s many countries in the world where even for domestic flights, you have to be fully vaccinated now,” said a fourth MP. “The numbers have adjusted drastically, and we’ve stabilized the situation. No. 3, the pressure on the healthcare system has diminished. And No. 4, there’s a level of frustration now from people because, they can go into a restaurant sit next to each other for two hours, they can be on a subway for an hour, but they can’t take a domestic flight. The frustration is that there’s contradictions now in the system.”
Liberal MPs also admit the government covid-19 mandates are a key reason for all the long lines and delays travel chaos seen at Canadian airports.
Last week Erskine-Smith said the mandates were put in place to “increase the vaccination rate and reduce the risk of transmission, but that the Liberal government’s mandate has exhausted its usefulness.”
The opposition motion was put forward Last month, Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman, asking the House to reverse policies that ban unvaccinated Canadians from travelling by train or plane within their own nation.
The transportation minister, Omar Alghabra, is finding it increasingly difficult to justify the mandates.
When asked if it was fair that unvaccinated Canadians couldn’t see their relatives across the country due to his party’s policies, Alghabra said that measures are always “reviewed and reassessed,” however he couldn’t explain what the technical justification for mandates is.
Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician and an associate professor at McMaster University, wrote in The Globe and Mail three weeks ago that the logic behind vaccine mandates for travellers “no longer holds.”
An increasing number of health experts have been speaking up against the domestic vaccine mandate, saying that it holds up to very little scrutiny.
The logic behind vaccine restrictions for travellers “no longer holds,” according to Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases specialist and associate professor at McMaster University, who wrote in The Globe and Mail three weeks ago.
“we need to bring down the other limits to individual rights that don’t make medical sense. This is why we should reconsider our mandate requiring full vaccination for Canadians boarding a commercial plane or train for travel to domestic and international destinations.”
on May 31, WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech spoke out against the mandates pointing to the commonly known fact the Covid “vaccines are not preventing the spreading of the virus since #omicron“
Canadian Airports Council, National Airlines Association of Canada, The Hotel Association of Canada, International Air Transport Association and American Express Global Business Travel have all called for an end of remaining measures.