A House of Commons petition initiated by an Abbotsford woman and authorized by Abbotsford MP Ed Fast is calling for the government to get rid of mandatory vaccine passports for international travel to or from Canada.
The petition was started by Lisa Boldt, who is currently in the role of assistant, secretary of senate at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV).
The petition has collected 39,041 signatures, with almost 10,000 from B.C.
“I don’t hold out much hope that the government will pay attention anyway,” Boldt told The News.
The petition maintains that vaccine passports exclude and punish millions and that making a particular medical decision in order to retain their freedom of mobility is authoritarian, violating free medical choice and bodily autonomy. It also states that vaccine passports breach the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that the policy will hurt the airline industry.
Fast has previously spoken out against the vaccine passport policy, including at a virtual forum prior to the federal election in September. The News did reach out to Fast for additional comments related to the petition in an email, but he has not yet responded to those questions.
An MP who accepts to authorize the online publication of an e-petition does not necessarily agree with the opinions or request set out in it, according to a statement on the Parliament of Canada webpage about how to create and submit an electronic petition.
As of Oct, 30, the percentage of the population that is fully vaccinated is at 73.96 per cent. In B.C. the rate is 75.59 per cent.
According to the UFV website, the senate is UFV’s academic governing body and is responsible for managing academic policies and advising the board of governors on policies of mutual interest.
UFV director of communications Dave Pinton stated that Boldt does not speak for the university, but she is entitled to her opinion.
“… all employees of UFV are citizens, and are entitled to speak, write or act as citizens, and to express opinions on matters of public interest, without institutional censorship or discipline,” he said.
“However, faculty, administrators, and staff should make every reasonable effort to ensure that when they are expressing personal views, they are not seen as spokespersons or representatives of the university.”
An e-petition such as this one must first collect the support of five Canadian citizens before it is authorized by a member of parliament – in this case, Ed Fast. The petition is then open for signatures. If there are more than 500, it is then certified and presented to the House of Commons. A government response follows the presentation.