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LETTER: Vaccine mandate needed for CRD staff and facilities

Like thousands of other residents of the Capital Regional District, I am proud to claim refugee status from Vancouver, where I lived and worked for 30 years. I love my life here, and I have made many new friends who have welcomed me to the Island.

Yet I have been troubled by how our elected officials and government bureaucrats have sought to manage and delimit the pandemic and fully protect the common good. In 30 years of teaching history at UBC, I often turned to the idea of protecting the common good to conclude discussions not only about oppressive, totalitarian regimes, but also about market-based societies that had drifted afar from the deep-rooted Anglo-American injunction to protect the well-being of all the people – the commonwealth – as it has been called for centuries.

In recent days, my tennis pals, who often play at the Panorama Recreation Centre, have reported their growing concerns about the absence of any such injunction from the CRD, which has yet to order employees to be fully vaccinated. And these pals also have reported that no one at the Panorama swimming pool evidently has been checking the vaccination status of patrons. I have spoken with high-ranking officials at Panorama and at the CRD and, while acknowledging that they understand the importance of guaranteeing employee health, these officials have said they are powerless, “for legal reasons,” to force employee compliance with the vaccination edicts rightly imposed upon the general public.

I hope that Panorama and the CRD can find a way to take the appropriate measures to protect everyone. For what it is worth, I would say this is not a question of protecting individual “freedom.” The plain fact is our country has long privileged the commonwealth over the wishes of individuals to do whatever they want. For freedom is not merely a question of having nothing else to lose: it does not include this right because, in the matter at hand, such freedom means persons other than yourself might have to accept the dire consequences of such freedom – consequences including death.

Paul Krause

Saanich