Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Tyranny Of The Minority

A great deal has been recently written in various media about vaccine certificates, both for and against their use. The arguments are pretty basic: such certificates should be required to enter restaurants, bars, movie theatres, etc. so that people know they are patronizing relatively safe businesses. The other side insists they are intrusive and violate people's privacy, that such coercive measures have no place in a 'free' society.

I have no use for the later argument, as this is an issue of public health. While I oppose mandating vaccines, I see nothing wrong with making life harder for those who don't give a damn about the lives of others. This is one of those rare issues that, in my view, is black and white.

The minority should not be permitted to tyrannize the majority. End of discussions.

Following is an assortment of letters to the editor that succinctly and effectively address this issue.

The first two letters, from The National Post, are a response to the dismantling of a website,, which was started to list businesses that offered safe environments to patrons, either by indicating that all staff have been fully vaccinated or requiring proof of vaccination before being permitted on the premises. It was taken down due to a backlash against the businesses from the perpetually aggrieved anti-vaxxers.

Re: Businesses Attacked Over Vaccinated Status, July 22. In a free society, anti-vaxxers are entitled to boycott But when dissent actively censors a website by forcing it to shut down over people sending personal, directed and hateful messages, then society must address such vandalism because it is clearly against the public interest.

Consequently, on behalf of society, including businesses, government should respond by setting up a similar site where knowledge of proof of vaccination is communicated. The government has the resources to withstand such an affront to our rights.

To submit to such a denial of our rights by allowing a vociferous minority to deny or cancel the free speech rights of the majority to advocate for free association with other vaccinated people on is an assault on all our rights.

Society must confront these anti-social outliers with our political will, medical knowledge and legal authority to save as many lives as possible. Safeguarding should be our civic mission statement for today, and the days ahead.

Tony D’Andrea, Toronto.

Just when you think that you have seen it all, this article about the attack on a website listing businesses that have fully vaccinated staff by a minority of hate-spewing, gutless anti-vaxxers, who remain anonymous on social media, proves that the world truly has gone mad. Kudos to Quebec for planning to issue vaccine passports in September. The majority of Ontarians will soon be fully vaccinated and I strongly urge Premier Doug Ford to do the same.

In a democracy the majority rules. The safety of all should never be trumped by a selfish minority.

Bob Erwin, Ottawa. 

The last letter is from The Toronto Star, responding to a column by Martin Regg Cohn in which he opined that all people working in health care should be vaccinated. 

 When it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, health and safety should trump job security, July 14

I completely agree with Martin Regg Cohn regarding vaccinations of all medical workers. However, this principle should be extended to all persons age 12 and above.

To me, personal privacy is trumped by the general good. Without a vaccine passport, a person still can order goods to be delivered to their home — just not go out to the stores to pick them up.

People have the right not to be vaccinated, but to attend physically is a privilege they have not earned without being vaccinated. Why should those of us that have been vaccinated be at the health peril of those not willing to protect their community?

Furthermore, a business that fails to enforce that its customers are vaccinated, threatening my health in the process, does not deserve my business.

J. Psutka, Toronto



  1. There have been plenty of reports, Canadian and American, of how a large majority of Covid cases requiring hospitalization or that result in death involve patients who have refused vaccination.

    The argument for everyone being free to accept or reject vaccination works up until we start looking at hospital admissions.

    With every report on the burnout problem, especially among nurses, we need to consider how much of their stressful workload arises out of vaccine hesitancy and associated behaviours such as masking, social distancing, etc.

    These people create a threat and a burden on society beginning with the healthcare system but extending into other settings from immediate family to fellow workers to the general public who can become infected. That's a larger social cost.

    An individual may claim the right to refuse vaccination, even for the most capricious reasons, but that doesn't extend the right to make society bear a shared risk.

    It is only reasonable that we enact measures to isolate the recalcitrants, to minimize knock-on infections and other costs. Denying them access to public facilities and services does seem appropriate.

    1. I agree, Mound. And an ancillary effect may be an increase in vaccination rates. Sometimes the stick is mightier than the carrot.