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  • Kate 17:41 on 2020-12-20 Permalink | Reply  

    Police faced off against anti-vaccination demonstrators Sunday on Sherbrooke Street.

    So what I propose is we use artificial intelligence to identify these folks, and cancel their access to health care.

    Not really. But it crossed my mind.

    Update: Police issued some hefty fines.

    • dhomas 17:49 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      Instead of shooting protesters with rubber bullets, shoot them with vaccines shots. It would vaccinate them and probably disperse the crowd a lot faster. :p

    • Ephraim 17:54 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      The extra cost of a single unvaccinated person for measles can be up to 100X the average healthcare cost for someone who is vaccinated. We may want to look at how we cover those costs for that choice and/or sick leave, when the choice is a personal choice. Also, I expect that we will see certain changes in the future, from insurance companies and from countries when it comes to vaccinations.

    • qatzelok 18:52 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      There was a lot of pressure to “drink the kool-aid” at Jonestown because not doing so meant that you weren’t loyal to Reverend Jones himself.

      Anti-kool-aiders were as scorned there as anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers are on commercial media today.

      It’s all about defending the society that you think you live in.

    • Tee Owe 18:55 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      @Ephraim – let’s be careful to avoid a slippery slope here. First, anti-vaxxers aside, there can be valid reasons for not getting vaccinated (eg immunosuppressive therapy, allergy). Second, once you start blaming the victim, where does it end – do we uninsure smokers, couch potatoes, doughnut eaters, the overweight, drinkers? The whole point of universal access health care was to share the burden (yes, I’m being idealistic), so maybe education to steer better lifestyle but not exclusion from the system.

    • DeWolf 19:31 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      Is qatzelok really comparing science to a cult? I meant, it’s not surprising, but still.

    • Michael Black 19:56 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      But this protest isn’t people who can’t be vaccinated, it’s people who think “my choice” comes first. It’s not unlike the anti-maskers.

      It’s a weird position. It’s an idea that becomes identity, rather than reason. Someone once posted in the wrong place, and when I pointed it, he replied “it’s free speech”. But there are limits to free speech, but even if there weren’t, it protects you from speaking, not require distribution. It seems a very US concept, to see rights first, as an absolute.

      There’s no obligation to be vaccinated, so what are these people protesting? They can just not get vaccinated, their problem solved. There’s been suggestions that there be vaccine passes, but that isn’t about mandatory vaccine, but trying to get things back to normal. How many of these people are in the same camp as those dismissing the seriousness of the Virus?

      Until last year, I’d not be getting vaccines, but that’s just “why bother?” . These people are anti-vaccine, they want others to doubt the value. I see comments over at the CBC website, it’s not people with legitimate concerns, it’s people being against vaccines and trying really hard to convince others there’s something wrong with vaccines. They sew doubt in people’s minds, which seems to be the purpose. (If nothing else, more converts give them legitimacy.)

      Followers of conspiracy theories are not thinkers. They follow what someone else has defined, and since they aren’t defining things, it sure seems like they are looking at peripheral ideas. So they don’t trust government, rather than have questions about specific things.

      I’d get vaccinated today, if I had the choice, but not only am I not first in line, but I gather my personal window doesn’t open until May, or again in November. These people don’t seem to realize it’s not about their health, but collective health.

    • qatzelok 20:16 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      @DeWolf: “Is qatzelok really comparing science to a cult?”

      No. To corporations and their profitable *techno-miracles.*

    • JoeNotCharles 21:14 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      Hasn’t qatzelok been banned for spreading conspiracty theories several times already? Why are they still here?

    • Kate 12:20 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      JoeNotCharles, qatzelok has been banned more than once, not so much for spreading conspiracy theories as for killing threads with the dead weight of his idées fixes. He’s the only regular commenter whose comments I sometimes delete.

      I’ll unban him, he’ll behave for awhile, and then he’ll resume cruising for a bruising again till I sigh and bring down the banhammer again.

      Which he is doing now.

    • CE 21:27 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      I walked through parc La Fontaine earlier today when the demo was in full swing. It was pretty surreal. Real grab bag of signs (Trump, anti mask/5G, American flags, Quebec flags both upside down and right side up, patriot flags, a Gwenn-ha-du for some reason) and the speakers were doing a lot of yelling without saying much of anything. One speaker asked the crowd who wan’t getting vaccinated which caused a loud cheer and another complained about Bye-Bye and Radio-Canada for a while. Very big police presence and a lot of animosity towards them. Cops seemed bored but I saw a couple arrests. I’ve never been so confused by a protest in my life.

      Also, I didn’t go deep into the protest but on the peripheries there were a lot of people wearing masks.

    • Ephraim 21:28 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      @Tee Owe – We do charge smokers a higher rate for insurance. Have you ever seen a form not ask if you are a smoker? We do charge overweight people more for insurance as well, it’s called getting rated.

      There is a difference between those who who don’t vaccinate because of allergy, immunosuppressive, etc.

      1 in less than 1 million who get the vaccines have a serious reaction, in those who are unvaccinated, it’s 1 in 1000. And even if you are vaccinated for measles, you still can get it, it’s so contagious! (The statistics say that 2 to 4% who are vaccinated who come into contact with someone who has measles will still contract it. And if you are in contact with measles, they revaccinate you.)

      I’m not saying that we should do it. I’m saying that the choice has financial costs and when it’s a choice, we may want to look at it differently. And certainly while you may have a personal choice, so does a country and they can choose to require vaccinations for entry to protect their citizens. Look at Taiwan… you don’t have a choice if you want to go to Taiwan, you are going into quarantine. You have to have a smart phone, you have to be tracked. Your meals are delivered to your room. You can’t go out, for 14 days and if you do, the fine is over $10K, etc. etc.

      Some countries require certain tests and/or X-Rays for certain visas. In fact, Canada requires immigrants to test for TB before being accepted for residency, but there are countries that vaccinate for TB and TB tests show up as positive for people of these countries… so a chest X-Ray is the only way to test.

    • Tim S. 22:10 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      Michael, I think you’re absolutely right that it’s an identity. I know people who can be perfectly rational in other spheres of their life, but issues like this just touch some really deep need to be different somehow. It’s an insistence on seeing things as being done to them, rather than as a personal, yet collective act. The armchair psychologist in me wonders if it’s delayed teenage rebellion.

    • jeather 22:23 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      I don’t think we should punish people who aren’t vaccinated by not giving them health care; I think we should have reasonable requirements for people who work in schools and health care and various public service jobs, and for students, to be vaccinated if they are medically able to be. Medical exemptions only, nothing religious or philosophical. (Not just a Covid vaccine, the regular vaccine schedule.)

      Also, the people were forced to “drink the koolaid” at gunpoint.

    • John B 09:00 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      @CE Was it a Gwenn-ha-du or was it a US Thin Blue Line flag? I saw an anti-COVID-measures protest last week that featured the thin blue line flag pretty prominently, (and a sheep flag, which I’m assuming refers to sheeple, but I can’t find any reference to that particular design online).

    • dwgs 09:10 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      A friend of mine suggested something similar Kate but not quite as radical. Anti maskers should be denied CERB benefits. Which I think is perfectly reasonable.

    • dhomas 11:01 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      @Ephraim: “WE” do not charge smokers and overweight people extra for universal health care (i.e. Medicare). Private insurance companies do. There is a massive difference.

    • Chris 11:16 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      Basically, a (small) bunch of people hold opinions that are unsupported by evidence and factually false and they’re trying to spread them around. Hmmm, where have we seen that before…? Religion!

      But religious falsehoods we’re supposed to tolerate and respect, but somehow we’re not supposed to for these other nutters. If you’re anti-vax then people call for you to be kicked to the curb with job limitations, no health care, and no CERB. But if you believe the god conspiracy, then you get tax exemptions! Go figure. (The anti-vaxers should do like L. Ron Hubbard did and start a proper religion.)

      Some fraction of humans just seem predisposed to believe nonsense that’s unsupported by evidence. X-rays harm tissue, so maybe 5G can. Mercury is toxic, so perhaps vaccines could be harmful. At least vaguely plausible. But an omnipresent omniscient sky man? That’s just too outlandish, so we’ve moved on to lesser conspiracies. So perhaps we’re making progress! 🙂

    • Ephraim 11:17 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      @dhomas – True. But there are ways that we make smokers pay for the extra cost of healthcare… cigarette taxes. We also collect GST/QST on prepared foods, snack foods, etc.

      To be truthful… I want the government to get a better grip on our healthcare and take some responsibility, including ensuring that we all have a doctor and that we get an annual check-up. The cost to the system is so much cheaper if we get annual check-up, than if we don’t.

      And if that means that if they don’t ensure the minimums that there are fines… in both directions. They have to pay us a fine if we don’t have an assigned doctor and we don’t get an assigned annual check-up. We get fined if we don’t do the annual check-up (you can reschedule for up to 90 days, or so. I haven’t really thought of the mechanics of it, TBT.) But basically make sure we have someone who follows us and that at least once a year once checks up, even if it’s just to talk to you about your health and keep track of your changes. It would save millions to the system, if not a lot more in the long run.

    • jeather 15:32 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      I’m happy to discuss with you a reduction in tax breaks for religious institutions, but there is no relationship between the tax breaks that they get and whether or not people who work in hospitals should be allowed to skip vaccinations.

    • Chris 15:59 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      jeather, the relationship is as I already described: in our society, holding some unsubstantiated opinions get you rewards, while holding other unsubstantiated opinions get you derision.

    • CE 16:57 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      @John B, it was a Gwenn-ha-du but there was also a flag similar the the Thin Blue Line flag but with a red line instead of a blue one. People were pretty hostile towards the police so I wouldn’t expect to see the thin blue line but it was quite a hodgepodge of opinions so anything could have been possible. I also saw the sheep flag as well as a sign that that just cryptically said “Nuremberg.”

    • jeather 17:19 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      Surely you understand that vaccination is a public health concern and believing in a religion is not.

    • Chris 17:51 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      jeather, religion is often a public health concern, ex: when it denies abortion even when the mother’s life is at risk, when it advocates murdering gays or apostates, when it denies education to girls, when it wages holy war, when it issues fatwas against vaccination, etc. etc. But I grant it depends on the religion, there are of course countless varieties. On the plus side, the Vatican has just announced it’s ‘morally acceptable’ for Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccines!

      On the other hand, what’s the big concern about nutters believing the 5G conspiracies? Why not respect their deeply held beliefs and leave them be? Why the derision and public condemnation?

    • qatzelok 20:33 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      @jeather: “Also, the people were forced to “drink the koolaid” at gunpoint.”

      Yes, but not at first.

      The “at gunpoint strategy” was just used, in the final hours of the cult, on the anti-koolaiders who couldn’t be shamed into drinking it “voluntarily,”

    • dhomas 21:13 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      @Ephraim: I hope it doesn’t look like I’m picking on you, because I’m not. But a luxury tax is not a health care tax. Once you go down the road of treating people differently, it becomes a very slippery slope. Healthcare is one of the few areas where we have very nearly equality.

    • jeather 22:24 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      Anti-religious countries also deny abortion, or kill gay people (or religious people), or start wars. This is because countries are made up of people, and lots of people are assholes.

    • Chris 23:56 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      jeather: indeed that’s true. But it doesn’t negate my central point: in our society, holding some unsubstantiated opinions gets you rewards, while holding other unsubstantiated opinions gets you derision. If one points out the illogic of 5G/Q/anti-vax/whatever, it’s a big fun pile on. If one points out, say, the illogic of Muhammad’s burāq, then one is branded an Islamophobe. It’s hypocritical and inconsistent. If it’s fair game to dump on people for believing X without evidence, then it’s fair game to dump on people for believing Y without evidence.

    • Tee Owe 07:22 on 2020-12-22 Permalink

      @dhomas : I agree with you, you have said it better than I could.

    • Ephraim 13:45 on 2020-12-22 Permalink

      @dhomas – I don’t take it personally… because even though I expressed it, because it is “out there”… it doesn’t meant that it is actually my opinion. But I do think that we should look at the costs and maybe make public the costs of those who do refuse to take a vaccination. We, as a society should know the costs associated with that choice.

      But then, many of those who are anti-vax talk about building their immune system and yet it’s clear that they don’t understand any of it. Because, it’s already been shown that vaccinations actually build your immune system, so much so that those who are vaccinated, get sick a lot less, of other diseases as well. but also, in particular, Measles wipes out the entire memory of your immune system and rolls it back by about 24 months, they say.

      But there are ways that we can improve our healthcare system and lower costs. As I said, ensuring that people over a certain age always get their annual check-up, for example. And maybe we should consider having nutrition and health taught in school and/or maybe have publicly available nutritionists and/or publicly available physical courses.

    • Kevin 13:49 on 2020-12-22 Permalink

      Doctors no longer recommend annual checkups.
      There’s a lot of stuff we could do to improve healthcare outcomes, and yes, it starts with educating citizens about what is needed.

    • Ephraim 14:47 on 2020-12-22 Permalink

      Kevin, it depend on the person, but over a certain age, it’s strongly recommended… it may not be annual, in fact, I think the real recommendation now is every 2 years. But having a doctor means that they know your history and how long between visits they should see you, be it to check your prostate or your mammaries. But the point is, there should be someone who’s following you.

    • MarcG 18:33 on 2020-12-22 Permalink

      My “family doctor” (a rotating cast of newbies supervised by an old guy) told me to make yearly appointments after I turned 40.

    • Ephraim 19:05 on 2020-12-22 Permalink

      My mother at the age of 80 has become an “orphan patient” as the system is so broken that a doctor can’t just hand over their practice to a waiting doctor who’s graduating and needs a practice. In fact, the government has a complete set of bureaucratic systems to handle orphan patients… because we refuse to licence new doctors for Montreal… because we won’t let them practice here… and have to send them out to St-Celine-de-Pumpkin-Patch. At an age where they really do need a doctor who’s following them.

    • Kevin 22:55 on 2020-12-22 Permalink

      It’s more complicated than that. New family doctors have to accept about 250 or 500. — so a retiring doctor abandons 1500 patients or so.
      And yeah, the lack of family doctor permits in Montreal is a major concern.

    • Ephraim 12:46 on 2020-12-23 Permalink

      @Kevin – I know it is. But when you get to the age of 80, you shouldn’t be burdened with trying to find a family doctor and “orphaned”. Those people need someone to step in and follow them. The government is failing them in EVERY SINGLE WAY.

  • Kate 11:40 on 2020-12-20 Permalink | Reply  

    Three pieces this weekend show facets of the systemic racism Quebec absolutely doesn’t have: student teachers find they’re facing barriers and xenophobic remarks if they don’t remove their hijabs. The Loi sur la laïcité (Bill 21) says nothing about requirements for people still at the student level but this story suggests the law is being applied overenthusiastically by people who don’t understand its limits.

    Radio-Canada reports that racial minorities are still not being hired in the Quebec public service at rates reflecting their presence in the population.

    It’s a Laval story, but yet another incident of a Black man being roughed up by police is reported here. The incident took place in May, but Samuel Bunche is now suing that city for damages.

    • Blork 11:56 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      But none of that is written down as policy, so therefore it’s not “systemic.”*

      Legault logic

    • Thomas H 16:15 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      Although by no means the only/biggest reason why non-white Quebecers are underrepresented in the Quebec public service, a huge barrier must be that so many bureaucratic jobs are concentrated in Quebec City. With so much of the province’s non-white population (and overall population) concentrated in Montreal, and so few people willing to relocate to a city where they have no family, friend, or cultural connections, having the province’s capital in a region where only 10% of Quebecers live is no doubt a challenge for attracting talented, capable, and well-qualified job candidates, to say nothing of representation.

      Mexico is currently working to decentralize its federal government bureaucracy, and I wonder if a similar initiative couldn’t work here. Surely it would make sense to me to have Montreal chair certain departments where it makes logical sense (e.g., education, transportation, economic development) in the same way I would support agriculture relocating to Drummondville or fisheries to Rimouski.

      Anecdotally, I know from a few acquaintences in the public service that many highly-qualified public servants opt to decline promotions that would require relocation to Quebec City simply to remain in their home (Montreal). The provincial government shapes the daily life of all of us arguably more than any force and I would welcome any move to make sure we all feel like we have an equal stake in its fate.

    • Mark Côté 11:52 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      There already is some decentralization of government offices, which is why some tax forms go to Rouyn-Noranda, for example.

    • steph 12:40 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      > public servants opt to decline promotions

      Many unionized government jobs pay the same salary regardless of the region. I’d happily take my public servant job far from Montreal where the same salary could afford me a house. The perks of city life have been nil in the last 12 months.

    • Kevin 15:30 on 2020-12-21 Permalink

      One of my neighbours is a civil servant based in Quebec City. She commutes* to her spouse in Montreal on weekends.

      *in non-pandemic times

  • Kate 11:13 on 2020-12-20 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir tells us about Cercle Local, a website built to promote local businesses in the Plateau and Mile End. You can’t buy through the site – it functions as a kind of shop window – but you can arrange to have things delivered locally by bike.

    Pity there’s nothing about any plan to add other neighbourhoods to the site.

    Updated: Reader CharlesQ tells us about localis.com, his project for putting locally made products online.

    • CharlesQ 15:13 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      I started Localis.com about a month ago, it indexes products made locally and you can search by location and distance. It’s just a personal project so it’s just a basic site.

    • GC 15:15 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      Hi Kate, I saw this article about Cercle Local in Le Devoir as well. I’m afraid you are missing the point and concept of their company. The reason why they do not sell the products on their website is because they want to redirect customers to the merchants website directly, which I think is a good thing. Our local businesses wholeheartedly need all the support they can get right now, what they do not need is this type of ignorant criticism. I guess you also did not read the article until the very end because the co-founder clearly stated that he has plans to add more neighborhoods to their site.

      It’s a pity that you critic good initiatives, especially during these difficult times.

    • CharlesQ 15:18 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      @GC that’s an overly sensitive comment considering Kate is only stating facts, not critiquing.

    • CharlesQ 15:20 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      I’m not sure what is the limit of the neighbourhoods on their site. Etat de style which is on Duluth near St-Denis but it’s listed as in the Mile-End but Argent tonic, which is on Laurier near St-Urbain, is not listed in the Mile-End but on the Plateau.
      It doesn’t make much of a difference though.

    • Janet 17:29 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      I’d go so far as to say it is an insensitive comment. Kate is devoting a great deal of her time to running this site for our benefit and there is no need to attack her like that. Given the aggressive tone, I wonder if GC is one of our trolls.

    • Kate 18:48 on 2020-12-20 Permalink

      GC, I was only restating a fact about the site. It doesn’t handle the commercial exchange directly. I was simply summarizing what the article said.

      If I hadn’t thought it was a good idea, I wouldn’t’ve even posted about it. As I said, my only regret was no mention of possible expansion to other neighbourhoods (since I don’t live in the Plateau or Mile End myself, which my readers would tend to know).

      Thanks for your defense, CharlesQ and Janet!

      Also please note: I have a regular commenter called GC. The comment in this thread did not come from him.

  • Kate 11:05 on 2020-12-20 Permalink | Reply  

    Among the establishments with Covid outbreaks are a CHSLD full of elderly nuns and the city’s Institut de Cardiologie.

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