Summer vacations aren’t just an optional frivolity this year but rather the duty of freedom-loving defenders of democracy worldwide. If you’re in the U.S., a good place to start is with a trip to Canada, my native country. Here’s why.
The world’s largest undefended border, the 49th parallel separating Canada and the U.S., has been effectively closed since March 2020, meaning that anyone crossing it (with the exception of essential workers) is obligated to quarantine on the Canadian side for two weeks. If you’re coming in on a plane, it’s even worse. The Canadian government forces you to spend up to three days in a government-designated quarantine hotel near the airport at your own expense of up to $2,000 while awaiting a COVID-19 test result. Then you’re required to go straight into self-isolation for another 14 days and take another test before emerging.
Canada may ease travel restrictions after June 21, according to a Bloomberg report, but it will reportedly still require some form of self-isolation. Earlier this month, a Canadian panel of experts recommended that travelers who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine be deemed exempt from any quarantine, that partially vaccinated travelers and previously infected travelers with natural immunity be permitted to exit quarantine after a negative test result, and that unvaccinated travelers be obligated to self-quarantine upon arrival and be tested after seven days.
Let’s call the Canadian quarantine rules what they are: undemocratic sanitary segregation. People on either side of the border who wanted to be vaccinated have been, with at least one dose. People who don’t want the vaccine — for whatever personal, private reason — have made that decision. And it’s none of the government’s business what they choose to do and why.
Now that virtually everyone in the developed world has had the chance to be at least partially vaccinated after playing along with the idiocy of governments constantly moving goalposts for the past 15 months, some bureaucrats have come up with yet another excuse not to let society go back to the way it was before they broke it.
Vaccinated British travelers who had been allowed to visit Portugal restriction-free were suddenly forced to rush home this week or face 10 days of self-isolation upon arrival, as the British government abruptly yanked Portugal off the restriction-free travel list. One case of the “Nepal variant” had been detected in Portugal, while 43 cases had been found inside Britain on the same day.
“But the biggest challenge, and the reason this is so difficult, is that a variant that undermines the vaccine effort obviously would undermine the return to domestic freedom, and that has to be protected at all costs,” British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Oh, so now we need to keep letting government tell us how to live and when to lock ourselves away because the vaccine needs saving from variants? How many more jabs are people going to need before it’s enough? Saving the health care system became saving the elderly from death, which then became saving the entire population from infection. Now we’re supposed to keep going with this nonsense in order to save the vaccine from the variants? Hey, maybe people can be forced to take a different vaccine for each variant — and show proof of it.
What’s even dumber about all this government heavy-handedness is that at this time a year ago, a lot of things opened up as summer weather took hold and all kinds of seasonal viruses receded. So we can’t really know whether the current ebbing of COVID-19 is attributable to vaccinations. It won’t be until fall that we’ll find out just how useful the vaccine really is.
If the vaccine underperforms for whatever reason, are we citizens of the world going to keep allowing governments to limit freedoms and dictate how we conduct our daily lives? The only solution is to overwhelmingly send the message to these governments that restrictions will no longer be tolerated. The time to do so is now, in the summertime, when restrictions look even sillier given the low viral circulation and can be so massively overwhelmed by tourists that the sanitary gestapo can’t keep up.
So celebrate freedom by taking a vacation to a sanitary authoritarian country like Canada, and do your part to promote democracy this summer in the face of enduring sanitary fascism.
Rachel Marsden is a columnist and political strategist.