The Deadline Has Arrived

It's hard to know where to start or what to say. Today, a very dark cloud looms over the basic civil liberties of Nova Scotians. For those educators, healthcare workers and other Provincial employees who are impacted by the vaccine mandate, today is D-Day. Ground Zero. The day they were cast out of society like dirty laundry. No matter your position on vaccines, mandates or COVID-19 in general, anyone cheering today needs to take a hard look in the mirror about what kind of society we are creating.

Western society was founded upon the principles of individual responsibility. Our justice system, which is what separates us from totalitarian societies both past and present, exists, in part, to protect individual rights from a collectivist mob. Our justice system is not a "majority rules" system, and for good reason. It's the exact opposite of that. Unfortunately, we are seeing the foundations of our very society fracture right in front of our eyes. For the first time in modern history, thousands of everyday citizens - your friends, family and neighbours - are losing their ability to provide for themselves and their families because they won't conform to the "new normal". Let me be clear, this affects ALL Nova Scotians. It may not seem like it today, because you are not directly impacted if you are fully vaccinated. However, this is just one item, one step down a path where you no longer have the right to make decisions over your own body. One day, this will impact you too.

You either believe in freedom or you don't, it's not something you can pick and choose. Believing in freedom doesn't mean you have to agree with everything that someone does in the name of freedom. Freedom is hard and messy. Just ask those who fought for it in the wars of past and present. Those lives were lost so that we can be free. Free from Government overreach, free from a collectivist mob, free to make our own decisions about how we live our lives, even if they are unpopular for some. That's what freedom is. Please don't try and compare seat belt laws to vaccine mandates. Temporarily strapping yourself into a seat with some material, so that you can partake in what is ultimately a non-essential activity, technically speaking (driving) has no resemblance to being forced to inject yourself with something you aren't comfortable with, in order to keep your job and be able to participate in society at the most basic level. Seat belts are temporary, vaccines are permanent. Teachers and nurses aren't losing their jobs because they don't wear seat belts.

We often hear the argument that people have a right to not be infected by a virus. First of all, that is not true. Show us any law or regulation that gives you the right to have some kind of action taken against a fellow citizen to ensure they cannot pass an illness to you. It obviously doesn't exist, or we would have always been testing every single kid with a cough in school or when you go to work. It's absurd. Life is messy and complicated. You might get sick. It's part of the deal. Freedom. Now, to be clear, that doesn't mean if you are symptomatic (aka you know you are sick) that you should be permitted to cozy up with a bunch of strangers or cough in someone's face in the name of freedom. However, what we are doing now is treating tens of thousands of healthy people like they are probably sick and incredibly contagious. Why would we do that? It isn't the case and there is exactly ZERO science behind it. If it's so dangerous to have unvaccinated people in Provincial workplaces, then why have they been allowed to work until now? If the situation was so urgent, surely they should have been stopped from entering work spaces months ago? Heck, it would have stopped the daily outbreaks at schools and hospitals all over the Province... errr... ummm, right, those don't exist. Here are a few tidbits of information:

- In 20 months, just 0.8% of Nova Scotians have had a confirmed case of COVID-19, which means 99.2% of people, in nearly 2 years, have a risk factor of 0, and this includes unvaccinated people working the same as everyone else, right up until this moment.

- The cumulative positive test rate in Nova Scotia since the pandemic began is 0.59%. This means that of all PCR tests that have been performed to date, 99.41% of them have been negative

What does this tell us? Well, it means that in 20 months, nearly all Nova Scotians have not had COVID, and that at any given time, a random person also doesn't have COVID. Even if someone has COVID and is asymptomatic, their chances of spreading the virus when they aren't coughing and sneezing is quite low, which is why most transmission happens between close contacts at home. Why are we treating people like virulent disease factories when they are perfectly healthy and therefore have very close to a 100% chance of posing no risk to anyone? Nothing is 100% safe, accurate or effective in this world, but this comes pretty darn close. Then you have the fact that vaccinated people can still catch and transmit the virus very effectively. Last week in NS, when you remove those under 12 who are currently unable to be vaccinated, 70% of new cases were in fully vaccinated people. Is it being suggested that all those cases are because of unvaccinated people? Do you believe that all school cases are because of unvaccinated teachers? Why aren't there outbreaks at the IWK or QEII constantly? The reality is, the vaccines may reduce the risk of severe outcomes (though the risk is already very low for the vast majority of people) they simply don't stop infection and transmission from occurring, thus rendering any type of mandates absolutely useless, anti-science and most certainly anti-freedom.

Why do current Government policies pretend vaccinated people are completely immune to COVID and unable to catch or transmit the virus? 10000 vaccinated people can jam their way into a Mooseheads game but an unvaccinated person can't go to a restaurant, attend an outdoor wedding or watch their child at a Christmas concert? When you say that out loud, does it make sense to you? Let us leave you with this, would you feel safer at a packed Mooseheads game where no one is required to be tested, or at a hospital where at any given time there might be a small handful of unvaccinated staff wandering around that are being tested regularly? If your choice is the Mooseheads game, then what has been laid out in this post has obviously not sunk in, unfortunately. Also, the NSCLA doesn't believe a testing alternative is even necessary as the risk is already incredibly low, but am sure those who are about to lose their livelihoods would happily take the occasional rapid test if it meant keeping their job.

The main point is this - vaccine mandates are not keeping anyone safer, placing thousands of heroes (apparently that is SOOO 2020) on unpaid leave is not keeping anyone safer, and removing a large number of healthcare staff from an already dangerously strained system is clearly the opposite of safe. Trading freedom for safety is a perilous road. Where there is risk, there must be choice, and novel vaccines are not without risk. There is a greater than 99% chance that an asymptomatic unvaccinated person poses no COVID risk to the people around them. This is mitigated further by utilizing PPE and can be brought to effectively zero (if that is the goal for some reason) through rapid testing. There are plenty of options available that maintains a low level of risk and adequately preserves basic freedoms, civil liberties and Charter protected rights.

The NSCLA calls on the Houston Government, at this final hour, to change course in order to preserve the society we ALL love and cherish. This is a pivotal point in the history of our Province. Do what is right, even if it isn't what is easy.