A “massive majority” of the Liberal caucus wants the Trudeau government to end remaining federal vaccine mandates, according to the Hill Times.
The Hill Times spoke with multiple Liberal MPs who said they want all of Trudeau’s pandemic restrictions removed “as soon as possible.”
“The massive majority of Liberal MPs want the mandates to end,” said a Liberal MP, who chose to remain anonymous.
He added that “(p)eople 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.”
Liberal MP Marcus Powlowski, a doctor who sits on the House of Commons Health Committee, also said that federal vaccine mandates should be repealed.
“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,” Powlowski said.
“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.”
However, Powlowski did say he supported the continuation of mandatory masking on planes. “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.”
Multiple Liberal MPs also told The Hill Times the issue has been brought up on several occasions during caucus meetings, including presentations by Yukon’s former chief health officer and now Liberal MP for Yukon Brendan Hanley. However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet ministers have not given satisfactory answers as to why their mandates continue to be in place.
“There’s never any straight or particularly convincing answer, I would say, let’s just leave it at that,” said one MP.
Another MP said that “(t)he answer (to maintaining mandates) is: ‘We’re listening to science and experts’… That’s been the message from the very beginning.”
Liberal MPs also say they heard frustration about the federal government’s holdout on mandates while they were helping provincial Liberals campaign in Ontario during the recent election campaign.
The Liberals MPs also acknowledge that the federal vaccine mandates are a key cause of the long lines and delays seen at Canadian airports.
The news comes amid a large push by Conservative politicians as well as travel and tourism organizations to end federal Covid mandates and restrictions, including vaccination requirements.
The Hotel Association of Canada, National Airlines Association of Canada, Canadian Airports Council, International Air Transport Association and American Express Global Business Travel have all called for an end of remaining measures.
Canada is one of few countries that continues to enforce strict vaccine mandates and travel restrictions.
The United States’ mask mandate for air travel ended on Apr. 18 after it was overturned by a federal judge in Florida, who ruled it was “unlawful”. The European Union also ended its recommendation that masks be worn on planes and at airports.
Canadians who have chosen not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 continue to be barred from travelling domestically by air and rail, with many also being unable to leave the country. On Friday, the Biden Administration also announced it will lift its mandatory Covid test requirement on Sunday.