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Canadian News Jun 2, 2022 3:51 PM EST

Liberal MP says vaccine mandate 'is no longer justified' and has 'exhausted its usefulness'

Erskine-Smith wrote that mandates were put into place to increase the vaccination rate and reduce the risk of transmission, but that the Liberal government's mandate has exhausted its usefulness.

Liberal MP says vaccine mandate 'is no longer justified' and has 'exhausted its usefulness'
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith said that, while he did not support the motion to revert to pre-pandemic travel measures, he believes that the government's two-dose vaccine mandate "without accommodation is no longer justified."

Erskine-Smith he abstained from the vote because he believes it's too soon to drop masks.

The Conservative Party-led motion to revert to pre-pandemic rules and service levels for travel was defeated on Monday, with Nays outnumbering Yeas 202 to 117.

The Opposition motion, put forward by Thornhill MP Melissa Lantsman, called on the House to revert measures that restrict unvaccinated Canadians from travelling by train or plane in their own country.

"I didn’t support the idea of dropping masks right away, but I’ve also made it clear to the government that a two-dose vaccine mandate without accommodation is no longer justified," Erskine-Smith wrote in a Twitter thread after the vote.

"We first debated these questions at the end of February. At that time, Dr. Tam had indicated that a review of mandates was warranted. As I noted in my reasons then, an immediate and transparent re-evaluation should have taken place at that time," he said, but added that the re-evaluation of travel measures has not been transparent.

"Nothing about the re-evaluation of travel-related measures has been transparent. It is not clear what Dr. Tam’s recommendations are, and there’s been no adequate justification provided for continuing the exclusive two-dose mandate," he wrote

Erskine-Smith wrote that mandates were put into place to increase vaccination rates and reduce risk of transmission, but that the Liberal government's mandate has exhausted its usefulness.

"The current mandate has exhausted its usefulness in reaching new people, and the impact of two doses on transmission risk is too low (especially given alternative testing options)."

He then recounts the story of one of his constituents who suffered from temporary facial paralysis after her first dose. "She feared further vaccination but didn’t qualify for a medical exemption. Should she be precluded from travelling by air/rail within Canada? Not without a compelling justification," argued the Beaches—East York MP.

"Another constituent’s mother is in Russia, already has a supervisa to be here, and is vaccinated with Sputnik, which we don’t recognize. Should she be precluded from travelling to Canada to be with her family? Not without a compelling justification," he continued.

"There are many stories and contexts, but the core point is that a two-dose mandate no longer makes any sense," he wrote.

"I’ve earlier argued for a three dose mandate with accommodation via rapid testing. But with ongoing inaction, dropping the two-dose mandate also makes good sense now.

"Lastly, because it’s related, the delays and challenges at our airports are unacceptable. If measures don’t accomplish any public good and they contribute to delays, then there’s good reason to eliminate them."

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