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'Ironic' that strip club has more COVID-19 protection than Ontario schools: manager


A Toronto gentleman’s club has required mandatory vaccines for patrons for three weeks now, and according to the manager, his staff feel much safer and there have been no complaints.

The unity displayed at Filmores can’t seem to be found in Ontario's government, where political finger-pointing isn't doing anything to advance a mandatory vaccine or vaccine passport policy that could prevent a more serious fourth wave of COVID-19, Kaspar Cameron, the club’s entertainment manager, said.

“The morality of it, the ethical responsibility of it, is what is guiding us. And I find it ironic that it has to be a strip club that leads,” Cameron said.

He said his staff got together and asked for vaccines to be required for their safety. No patron is allowed in without demonstrating that they have at least one vaccine dose, he said.

“The last thing anyone wants to feel in a strip club is worry about their safety, just be relaxed and have fun, not be worried about stuff,” Cameron said.

It’s a policy that wasn’t included in Ontario’s plans to reopen schools for September — though children from grades one to twelve will have to wear masks — and one that could make a difference if it was used in workplaces in general as the province prepares for the fourth wave of COVID-19.

“People are talking about mandatory vaccinations and vaccine passports,” Dr. Anna Banerji of the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health said.

“We really need to change the way we think about COVID. We need to keep places safe, homes safe, workplaces safe. The best way to do that is vaccination.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory said he was in favour of such a policy, but said implementing it shouldn’t be up to the city.

“We need an overall plan. We can’t afford to have a patchwork quilt of chaos, where York and Durham and Peel and Toronto and different employers within the banking system do things differently. People are going to be confused and that is a danger,” he said.

If a regional patchwork would be bad, a provincial patchwork would be even worse, according to Ontario’s Solicitor-General, who said she wrote the federal government asking for leadership.

“It becomes critically important, because we don’t want 13 different vaccine passports and certificates across Canada,” Sylvia Jones said.

The argument that no one can do anything until one person does everything is actually the opposite of the way the Canadian system of government works, says constitutional lawyer Andrew Furgiuele.

“Legally, there are pretty defined areas where they can act,” he said.

Furgiuele says health is typically the domain of the provinces, but local governments can pass bylaws, and the federal government can step in if there’s a national interest, just as it did with the carbon tax.

“The quickest way through the knot is for the first person to make a cut. Someone’s got to do something,” he said.

A system of checks and balances then kicks in as other levels of government rush to oppose or follow the move.

In the carbon tax example, it was actually B.C. that imposed it first, before it was adopted at the federal level, despite challenges from other provinces.

“As frustrating as it is, this is part of the classic general manoeuvring of government,” he said. “This is part of the natural functioning of our democracy.”

Watching that manoeuvring from Filmores, Cameron said his experience in the last three weeks has convinced him his club is on the right track — and he’s hoping politics will catch up.

“The tail’s wagging the dog again. That’s all we’re talking about, the tail. Not the majority of people who want to be safe,” he said. Top Stories

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