Diverging views of freedom

I am trying to understand what the protesters who say they want freedom are really asking for. My on-line dictionary defines “Freedom” as the power to act, think or speak without hindrance or restraint.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “Freedom” as follows: The power to do what you want to do;the ability to move or act freely.

I understand that many of the demonstrators in Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Emerson and Coutes are upset with decisions that both the federal and provincial governments have instituted. Protesters continue to have the right to act, think and speak.

In Ontario, the province instituted the wearing of masks in indoor locations. The government also encouraged all Ontarians be vaccinated and created a vaccine passport. The passport made it possible for people to visit persons in long-term care, to eat in restaurants, attend sporting events and meet with friends.

Perhaps those objecting feel that the requirement of being vaccinated was unfair and against the “Canadian Charter of Rights” under section 7 which states “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” Vaccine mandates are not forced vaccinations. Persons have the choice as to whether or not they wish to be vaccinated. When a person made a choice not to be vaccinated, they were then offered a different set of options in their future than a person who chose to be vaccinated.

Because that choice is available, that section of the Charter of Rights is not applicable.

The Federal government is responsible for the health and welfare of persons living in Canada. That responsibility includes making decisions about ways of protecting all Canadians. When the government recommended getting vaccines, and provided means of determining who was vaccinated, they were in fact protecting citizens from being exposed to the virus.

Similarly the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety act mandates that employers provide protections for their employees. That may involve safety equipment, proper ventilation, and safe working conditions. When employers in the public sector of health care, schools, or independent employers mandated that employees be vaccinated, they too were following the direction of legislation to protect all of their employees.

Arbitrators have found across Ontario that employers demanding that employees be vaccinated or have regular Covid testing are being responsible under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. So too have arbitrators and the courts determined that either closing businesses or reducing occupancy is being done in the interests of all Ontarians.

It is clear that you do not have the right or freedom to harm or put others in jeopardy. What freedoms have been lost in the pandemic?

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