'That’s about as un-Canadian as you can get': B.C. premier 'disappointed' at people travelling to jump the line for COVID-19 vaccine

Elisabetta Bianchini
·3-min read
John Horgan, British Columbia's premier is calling residents 'un-Canadian' for heading to the Yukon to bypass the COVID-19 vaccine line.

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan said he is was “disappointed” to hear about the “elite” chartering a private jet to Yukon to get a COVID-19 vaccine faster.

“That’s about as un-Canadian as you can get,” Horgan said at a press conference on Wednesday. “That was profoundly disappointing for me on a number of levels.”

“I believe there’s nothing more un-Canadian than going to another jurisdiction to jump the line because you have the means to do so.”

This comes after a Vancouver couple flew to the territory and got the initial dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic, after claiming that they were new employees at a local motel.

The premier went on to condemn the individuals in Vancouver who have now been fined $2,500 for operating a “makeshift nightclub” from a penthouse condo unit.

“It’s COVID exhaustion. People are frustrated, they’re angry, and when they see other people disregarding the very rules that they are trying to abide by, it’s offensive to them, it’s offensive to me,” Horgan said.

The premier maintained that the province will take steps to ensure these people “feel the pain of trying to get outside the box that all us of have been in, not happily.”

When asked if B.C. intends to add measures for people travelling to the province, a day after Manitoba announced that anyone entering the province will have to quarantine for 14 days, Horgan said that until B.C.’s public health officer advises that there is a benefit to add similar measures and, “we’re going to leave [that road] untravelled for the time being.”

The premier stressed that there are logistical differences between Manitoba and B.C., including the number of roads and airports to enter the provinces.

“If you are coming to British Columbia on non-essential travel, you better behave appropriately, you better follow our public health guidelines or we’ll come down on you like a ton of bricks,” Horgan said.

‘I would encourage that minister to rethink her approach’

Last week an open letter by Joyce Murray, Canada’s Minister of Digital Government, was published in the Vancouver Sun, stating that B.C. is “missing in action” with regards to adopting the COVID Alert app.

“I live here in B.C. and my ministry of digital government developed the app so I’ll be blunt: I am quite disappointed that my home province of British Columbia still hasn’t opted to use the COVID Alert app,” Murray wrote.

“I think of my mom, who is living in long-term care in Vancouver. If I got a notification of a potential exposure and I had been feeling fine, I would cancel any visits until I tested negative. But without the app, I may never have known that I might be infectious. And this tool is sitting in the shed here in British Columbia!”

Horgan maintained that nothing replaces the work of contact tracing in the province and the app does not “meet the needs” of public health in B.C.

“If federal ministers want to take shot at me I’m good with that,” Horgan said.

“I would encourage that minister to rethink her approach to building a stronger country by putting 700 words together that may have felt good at the moment she hit send, but don’t do anything to advance the wellbeing of Canadians.”

Check out our COVID-19 in Canada topic page for latest news, tips, health updates, cases and more.