Is Jason Kenney’s Vaccine Lottery Illegal?

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on June 22, 2021

David Dickson, a former Liverpool police officer who now runs a cybersecurity firm in Alberta was interviewed recently on Bridge City News regarding potential legality issues with the Alberta government running a lottery for anyone who gets the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dickson confirmed that although the government can run lotteries, but the one Jason Kenney’s government is currently running has some problems he has already noticed in its aim and hazy origins.

Dickson said:

The government does have the ability to run their own lotteries, but they were designed for them to use as a means of generating revenue. I’m not sure how giving 3 million dollars away generates any revenue for the province, especially when we were in a few percent of that 70 percent target anyways. 

I have heard from reliable sources that, not just the prizes from the airlines, but also the money was provided from outside of the government, which is something that hasn’t been declared by the government. That’s a question that sits out in the air, who’s writing cheques for 3 million dollars? And for what reason are they really writing them? 

It should be noted that currently the Alberta government is also now giving away 635 Stampede-related prizes alongside the three chances to win 3 million dollars.

Dickson also points out that the rules that govern contests of chance and how the Alberta government is very likely in violation based on exclusionary practices. 

Dickson stated that:

What about the people that cannot take the vaccine? We have a definite question of can they do it and exclude people.

Like Tim Hortons you’ll notice when they run these games of chance, it always says on the bottom (of the advertisement) “no purchase necessary”. They cannot exclude people other than by age. 

This means making it a precondition to be involved in this game of chance to win a million dollars for being vaccinated is automatically exclusionary based on those who have medical reasons for why they cannot get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

In theory, no barrier can be put up for a game of chance that excludes people in a way that cannot be overcome. Whereas lottery tickets can be purchased by anyone over the age of 18, getting a vaccine is not universal and could even get some people hurt who have medical issues that could be exacerbated by a vaccination of any kind. 

The precondition of needing to get a vaccine to enter a raffle is not only potentially illegal based on regulations of games of chance, but it also is immoral from the perspective that it is adding incentives to take medication that is not universally safe for everyone to take.

Everyone would realize just how messed up this all was if Pfizer was running a raffle for only those who took a tablet of Advil, seeing as a minority of people are actually allergic to Ibuprofen-type drug.

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It is unclear how someone might legally challenge the lottery system that Premier Jason Kenney rolled out, and if there could be legal consequences for adding social and financial pressure for people to get vaccinated in this manner. 

The interview with David Dickson is embedded below. (Segment starts at 5:35)

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

2 responses to “Is Jason Kenney’s Vaccine Lottery Illegal?”

  1. Simon Jones says:

    I totally have an issue with kennys vax lottery. Additionally, my mla, and/ kenny and ahs have yet to respond to my query on how this lottery is being licensed legally for the same reasons mentioned above. This vax lottery is exclusionary. Kenny seems to only think that those who choose not to get the vax are just conspiracy theorists (concientious objectors). No one should be excluded, even those who dont/ cant take the "vax". No purchase necessary in thus context shoukd mean no vax necessary. But then again, kenny violated so many human rights laws recently, whats one more?

    • Kathy DeVos says:

      I sent an email to my MLA, (NDP) wondering her thoughts on the gross abuse of our tax dollars and the manipulation with foolish dreams of winning it big.
      Her assistant’s reply was:
      "Broadly speaking, our caucus supports efforts to boost vaccination rates in Alberta. A lottery is worth a try. We support any steps we can take to get more people to go ahead and get the COVID-19 vaccine — which has been scientifically proven it’s safe and it’s our best path forward to getting us out of this pandemic. It’s unfortunate, though, that this comes after the Premier took so long to move on so many other ways that we could have been working to see more people vaccinated at an earlier time. We also have concerns about Kenney’s ability to execute this plan in a way that is both fair and achieves the goal of increasing vaccination. The botched weekend announcement left many Albertans confused and angry about who is eligible, and in the follow-up announcement, the Premier and Health Minister didn’t have answers to key questions about how to make this an effective incentive."

      I felt ill at the "worth a try remark".

      Keep on keeping on Simon.