The Government of Quebec, that bastion of secularism, is planning a new tax based on Islamic law. Sad thing is, the politicians involved probably have no idea what they are doing.
Jizya, according to Wikipedia, is a “form of financial charge on permanent non-Muslim subjects of a state governed by Islamic law.” While no longer officially policy in the Middle East, it has been reported that organizations such as the Taliban and ISIS have required non-Muslims to pay jizya, convert to Islam or be killed.
Quebec’s new jizya is aimed not at non-Muslims but at those who have chosen, for whatever reason, not to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The government is effectively seeking to impose health care on those who don’t want it. At least it is only proposing a financial penalty and not suggesting the unvaccinated be killed.
For the record, I chose to get vaccinated, despite some unease about the speed with which the vaccines were developed. No-one knows if there will be any long-term side effects. Weighing all the available information, I made a choice to get vaccinated. However, I respect those who have made a different choice.
Canada is past the point where enough people are vaccinated to give us “herd immunity” against COVID. Well, that is acording to everything the politicians and health experts told us in 2020. They were obviously wrong – but they were learning on the fly, so I won’t castigate them too much for that.
But I am concerned about a special tax on the unvaccinated. I understand the public anger. I understand that those who are unvaccinated are more likely to wind up in hospital with COVID than those who have had their shots.
Such a tax strikes me as unconstitutional, not that such a concept bothers the Quebec government, which just fired a school teacher for wearing a hijab. But where do we draw the line? Our health care system is predicated on universality of accessibility and cost.
Today Quebec taxes the unvaccinated. Who will it be tomorrow? Will it be smokers (who already are taxed on their cancer-causing products)?
What about those who are overweight? They are more likely to need health care resources than skinny people. Why not a fat tax?
If you are injured in a rock climbing accident, or any sporting activity, why should I have to underwrite your medical treatment? You assumed the risk, you pay the cost. Apparently though it is only the unvaccinated that we treat this way, becasue popular opinion is behind such treatment.
I’d love to see some leadership from politicians who have the guts to say something is wrong when it is. That doesn’t seem likely to happen in Canada.
Polls and focus groups say it is safe to make the unvaccinated the enemy. It isn’t as if there are enough of them to matter in the next election.
Everyone is tired of COVID-19 and the endless succession of ever-changing pandemic rules. I’m as frustrated as you are. Maybe more.
It is scary though when our leaders propose singling out some people for unfair treatment under the law. I don’t know how they can justify doing that. “Frustration” should not be enough.
In Canada though, in 2022, it seems to be.