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A woman wears a face mask as she walks by a COVID-19 vaccination sign in Montreal on August 1, 2021.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

An overwhelming majority of Canadians want people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 banned from gatherings in public places, a new poll has found – proof of this country’s solidarity in limiting the rights of those who refuse to be inoculated.

Unlike the United States, where attitudes to vaccination cleave along political and geographic lines, Canadians are virtually united in their message to the vaccine hesitant or skeptical: Stay home.

The poll by Nanos Research for The Globe and Mail asked respondents: Would you support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or oppose unvaccinated people being denied access to public gatherings like sporting events or indoor dining in restaurants?

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Nanos vaccination poll

Would you support, somewhat support, somewhat

oppose or oppose unvaccinated people being

denied access to public gatherings like sporting

events or indoor dining in restaurants?

Support:

59%

Somewhat

support:

19%

Somewhat

oppose:

5%

Oppose:

15%

Unsure:

2%

Nanos Research, hybrid telephone and online random survey,

July 30 to Aug. 2, 2021, accurate to within 3.1 percentage points

plus or minus, 19 times out of 20

john sopinski/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE: nanos research

Nanos vaccination poll

Would you support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or

oppose unvaccinated people being denied access to public

gatherings like sporting events or indoor dining in restaurants?

Support:

59%

Somewhat

support:

19%

Somewhat

oppose:

5%

Oppose:

15%

Unsure:

2%

Nanos Research, hybrid telephone and online random survey, July 30 to Aug. 2,

2021, accurate to within 3.1 percentage points plus or minus, 19 times out of 20

john sopinski/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE: nanos research

Nanos vaccination poll

Would you support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or oppose unvaccinated people

being denied access to public gatherings like sporting events or indoor dining in restaurants?

Support:

59%

Somewhat

support:

19%

Somewhat

oppose:

5%

Oppose:

15%

Unsure:

2%

Nanos Research, hybrid telephone and online random survey, July 30 to Aug. 2, 2021,

accurate to within 3.1 percentage points plus or minus, 19 times out of 20

john sopinski/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: nanos research

Seventy-eight per cent of respondents said they would support (59 per cent) or somewhat support (19 per cent) such a ban. Only 15 per cent opposed a ban, and 5 per cent were somewhat opposed. Two per cent were unsure.

There was no difference in support between men and women. Regionally, support ranged from 75 per cent in Atlantic Canada to 81 per cent in Ontario.

The only significant gaps were generational: 71 per cent of adults under 35 supported denying access, compared with 84 per cent of people 55 or older.

Nik Nanos, the chief data scientist at Nanos Research, is not surprised by the high level of support for restrictions on the unvaccinated, since 80 per cent of Canadians 12 and older have received at least one vaccine dose.

“There is a minority that is vocal” in opposition, Mr. Nanos said in an interview. “But it is a very small minority.”

(Nanos surveyed 1,002 adult Canadians by phone and online between July 30 and Aug. 2, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.)

He stressed that the poll does not indicate support for mandatory vaccination, only for limits on the rights of the unvaccinated to be present in “any public gathering that involves people being close together,” such as workplaces, college campuses, hospitals, airplanes, public transit, gyms, shops and supermarkets.

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Given such a broad, deep desire to restrict the activities of the unvaccinated, the resistance of federal and provincial politicians to vaccine passports is baffling. While the federal government is preparing a vaccine passport for Canadians travelling internationally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has left it to provincial governments to regulate their own jurisdictions, and most premiers are reluctant to impose restrictions.

Quebec plans to require proof of vaccination for the use of non-essential services in regions where transmission rates are high, but it won’t require them where they are low.

“The answer is no, we’re not gonna do it,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in July when asked if Ontario would issue passports. “We’re not gonna have a split society.”

But as the Nanos poll shows, there is no meaningful split. The real reason Mr. Ford and other conservative premiers are reluctant to act may involve greater resistance to vaccination among voters in rural areas – key conservative constituencies.

That appears to be the case in the United States, where predominantly rural states such as Alabama and Louisiana have much lower rates of vaccination than more densely populated states such as New York and California, as well as fewer restrictions.

Many business owners may want to avoid the hassles and confrontations that could come with checking the vaccine status of customers.

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Nonetheless, politicians who oppose restrictions on the unvaccinated do so in defiance of the wishes of a great majority of voters.

As everyone knows all too well, the Delta variant is sweeping through unvaccinated populations around the world, threatening a fourth wave of infections.

In France, when President Emmanuel Macron announced severe restrictions on the public activities of unvaccinated citizens, a million people booked appointments to get their shots in a single day.

Encouraging more people to get vaccinated by banning them from work or play unless they do is another good reason for imposing restrictions. The state may have no right to insist you ingest a substance against your will, however beneficial that substance may be. But 80 per cent of Canadians don’t want to go anywhere near those who won’t.

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