A mandate requiring that the next elected members of Montreal’s municipal council be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could be adopted by the city’s executive committee in the coming days.
According to outgoing mayor Valérie Plante, no one without two shots should be allowed to enter Montreal City Hall.
“Aspiring municipal officials are required to lead by example,” said Plante in a statement. Tweeter, in response to a Radio-Canada article.
“This is why all elected officials must be able to present their vaccination passports at the next meetings of the municipal council.”
A by-law on the vaccination passport will be adopted next Wednesday in the executive committee, then submitted to the vote of the municipal council.
No city council meeting is scheduled before the November 7 elections, the decision will be submitted to the next elected officials, probably by the end of the year.
Montreal is not the first city to want to impose vaccination on municipal workers. To work at Ottawa City Hall, employees must be fully immunized by November 1, unless they have a medical exemption.
A vaccination passport has also been imposed on the National Assembly of Quebec, but so far there is no such thing at the federal level in the House of Commons.
Parties support immunization mandate
The vaccination requirement proposed by Plante is viewed favorably by the main political parties in Montreal.
The Plante Montreal Project says its 103 candidates are already fully vaccinated. The same goes for the 98 candidates of Denis Coderre’s Ensemble Montréal party, who made the decision in September to oust Julie-Pascale Provost, then candidate for mayor of Lachine, from the caucus.
Ensemble Montreal said she did not provide proof of vaccination to the party.
Montreal Movement leader Balarama Holness is also in favor of the idea.
He and Coderre want to go further and make vaccination compulsory for the city’s 28,000 employees, which Plante had said she would not do.
Meanwhile, at least two Montreal Movement candidates have recently come under fire for their stance on public health measures.
Rita Ikhouane, who is running for the post of municipal councilor in Côte-des-Neiges – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, told Radio-Canada that she was not against vaccines, but that she did not consider her immunization status like anyone’s business.
“If society thinks [getting vaccinated] is the right thing to do, I will do it. But I like to take my time and think, without feeling like I’m doing something wrong, “she said in a phone interview.
Holness said he was not aware of her vaccination status and said “she will not be invited to any public event.” However, she can maintain her candidacy.
Another elected representative of the Montreal Movement, Marc-André Bahl, was recently dismissed from his party. On Saturday, Holness said he fired Bahl immediately after learning about his controversial social media posts.
Bahl shared conspiratorial content about the pandemic on his Facebook page. He also wrote “Islamophobia is not racism” and published an anti-Semitic cartoon depicting the Hasidic community in Montreal.
Bahl was the candidate for Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie and came to the Montreal Movement after merging with the Ralliement pour Montreal party.
Holness says the party does not welcome any form of discriminatory remarks or behavior. He says further scrutiny of other candidates who entered the party after the merger is now in order.
Other political personnel not concerned
The vaccination requirement proposed by Plante will be limited to elected officials in Montreal. The measure will therefore not affect political staff and other municipal employees working at the town hall, such as people working in housekeeping or security guards.
According to Radio-Canada, there could be discussions with various unions on the subject in the coming weeks, in particular on the imposition of vaccination on all employees of the town hall.