Words Matter

It was a friend in the United Kingdom who mentioned it. “I see your Prime Minister is lying again.” I hadn’t seen the interview.

So I looked it up. Turns out Justin Trudeau didn’t lie in this instance. He said very clearly that he didn’t force anyone to be vaccinated against COVID-19, that the millions of Canadians who followed the government’s advice did so of their own free will and choice.

Words matter. Trudeau is correct he didn’t force anyone to be vaccinated. He didn’t break into anyone’s home and hold them down at gunpoint while jabbing a needle in their arms. No force involved at all. People made a decision to get vaccinated becasue they knew it was the right thing to do. For those who were reluctant, the government provided encouragement.

Many people chose to be vaccinated when Trudeau offered that encouragement. Civil servants got vaccinated in droves, given the alternative. Even though they were working from home, not exposed to anyone, they were told they had a simple choice – be vaccinated or their employment would be terminated. (Please note, that is not “force” – they had a choice.)

To provide further encouragement, anyone who lost their jobs by refusing the vaccine was told they would not be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits, despite having paid into the program. This was not force, it was encouragement. It isn’t as if anyone with a mortgage, bills to pay and needing money for groceries was likely to refuse the “encouragement.”

Oh, and no-one was allowed to travel by rail or air unless they were vaccinated. Or attend a professional sporting event. I could list more examples, but you get the drift. No-one was “forced” to be vaccinated. Unless you wanted to keep your job. That was the whole point of the Freedom Convoy in 2022 – the truckers, hailed as heroes in 2020 were losing their jobs in 2020 becasue they weren’t vaccinated. Is coercion different from force?

It is probably important to mention at this point that I chose to be vaccinated, even though I had some concerns about the safety of the vaccines. I still think the government went too far in its effort to “encourage” compliance. Technically no-one was forced to accept the vaccine. But to many people it felt that way.

Words matter.

In the article I linked to this post Trudeau talks about the importance of words and how important they are to him as a former English Literature student. He then proceeds to define disinformation and misinformation. He does a great job – except he has it backwards, confusing the two of them. I couldn’t believe it, so I checked the dictionary. Apparently he doesn’t know which is which. Though he did realize his error later.

Which might not matter if it were you or me, but Trudeau’s government is trying to control what Canadians can and cannot see online. He wants to protect us from disinformation. Or is it misinformation. Perhaps, to be safe, just keep us from seeing information.

Better to be safe than sorry.



  1. Coercion. Nahum 1:3.

  2. Perhaps the best word to use is Coercion – “Use of physical or moral force to compel a person to do something, or to abstain from doing something, thereby depriving that person of the exercise of free will.” It describes how we were locked down, isolated, forced to show our vaccine status to travel or attend events… etc, etc.

    1. I agree, coercion best describes it.

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