Four days after the New Brunswick government announced that grocery stores are allowed to ban unvaccinated Canadians, elected leaders have remained mute.
True North reached out to numerous politicians and their offices – named below – for comment. People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader Maxime Bernier was the only political figure who responded to condemn the measure.
“Mr. Bernier absolutely believes this measure violates our fundamental rights, and doesn’t think it is reasonable at all,” PPC spokeperson Martin Masse told True North. “It’s simply another authoritarian measure to put pressure on unvaccinated people to get vaccinated and has no scientific basis in terms of preventing the spread of the virus.”
“Even worse, people who live in rural areas with few stores and none that offer home delivery could be left with no easy access to food. This is completely reckless and immoral on the part of the N.B. government.”
Bernier also tweeted at the New Brunswick government, calling them fascists and saying this was “a red line.”
True North reached out to Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s office, the Prime Minister’s office, the office of the Premier in New Brunswick and the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick caucus. None offered comments by deadline. Conservative New Brunswick Senator Rose-May Poirier also failed to respond.
True North spoke twice with Conservative New Brunswick MP John Williamson’s assistants but received no comment after being told Mr. Williamson would review the requests.
True North also spoke with the media coordinator for the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick but heard nothing from MLAs Kris Austin and Michelle Conroy.
Even Canadian intellectual Jordan Peterson has noticed the silence, asking “Canadian Conservatives … Where have they gone?”
In addition to the vaccination requirements for grocery stores, the JCCF opposes the government’s order that certain faith gatherings such as weddings and funerals require proof of vaccination while non-faith gatherings do not.
The JCCF condemned New Brunswick’s measures in stark language, referring to food as “a fundamental Human Right enshrined in various international instruments.”
“An invitation to the private sector to consider such egregious discriminatory practices triggers historic Charter violations,” said JCCF lawyer Andre Memauri. “Potentially depriving citizens of food constitutes an act of cruelty. It is discriminatory, unconstitutional, and likely an offence under international law. No one should be barred from the ability to purchase food to feed their family.”
“Canada is better than this,” Memauri added.
The province’s winter action plan, including the measure involving grocery stores, went into effect on Dec. 4.