By Edan Tasca

Earlier this month the New Brunswick legislature began debating Bill 11, a motion to eliminate non-medical vaccine exceptions. Under the bill, students who are not vaccinated according Health Canada’s requirements would not be able to attend public schools, unless they have a medical exemption. Religious exemptions would not be acceptable.

Unfortunately, the bill was ultimately rejected. In reaction to what he saw as a disappointing vote on the bill he authored, New Brunswick’s Education Minister, Dominic Cardy, has vowed to continue confronting opposition to the bill. “I’m going to confront them in the same way I would people who are racist or sexist or homophobic, by calling them out and telling them their views are unacceptable in 2020,” Cardy said.

Cardy’s attitude has been met with criticism. Many feel his rhetoric is antagonistic and divisive. The leader of the province’s Liberal party called it inappropriate, arguing that it makes collaboration more difficult than it can already be between different political parties.

Still, Cardy plans to hold strong. “When faith in science and institutions is coming under more threat and pressure than at probably any other point in our lifetimes, this bill is a firewall to protect our schoolchildren,” he said. “And I’m going to be there to fight against them as long as I’ve got the mandate to do that from the folks who elected me.”

As part of its mandate to promote secular values, CFIC stands with Cardy and health experts rather than religious ones, about whether children should be vaccinated. Simply put, if a child is to skip a vaccine, the reason cannot relate to ideologies that are centuries old that don’t understand epidemiology. Science and common sense must supersede superstition.