(Quebec) The opposition parties accuse the Legault government of creating “confusion” by changing from day to day the instructions that will govern the gatherings that may be allowed in Quebec during the holiday season.
Faced with a barrage of questions from liberal deputies, the Minister for Health, Lionel Carmant, replied Wednesday that the instructions were established by the public health department and that they were “non-negotiable”.
“What Public Health has granted us is not negotiable because it could be dangerous for the population. Already in January, our hospitals are in critical condition in general. We cannot start increasing the number of admissions during the holiday season, ”Carmant said during question period.
The minister was then responding to a question put to him about essential workers, including those who are at the front of the pandemic in hospitals, and who will have to work or stay at home rather than participate in a Christmas rally, since they cannot isolate themselves the previous days.
“The part that is important in the government plan that the Prime Minister announced is really these seven days of confinement before and after [les rassemblements]. This is how we will make sure to limit infections, ”said Mr. Carmant.
” The bare minimum ”
But for Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of Quebec solidaire, the Legault government must still find an alternative to give respite to health workers.
“These women and men there, they did more than me, than you, than the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health put together, for months to fight against the pandemic. If there are many Quebeckers who deserve the right to come together for Christmas with their families, their loved ones, to save their mental health, then it is these people, ”denounced in the morning the solidarity leader.
“The government must, by December 17, correct the situation and find, with the workers, an arrangement to allow them to have at least one of their days off during the window of the four days of festivities . This is the bare minimum, ”added Nadeau-Dubois.
In recent days, Prime Minister François Legault – who has been absent from the Salon Bleu on Wednesdays for a few weeks – has clarified the rules surrounding the “moral contract” he is proposing to Quebecers, in order to allow restricted gatherings between the 24th. and December 27. Among other things, the government is calling on Quebeckers to limit themselves to two gatherings, where a maximum of 10 people would gather, in addition to observing a period of voluntary isolation on the days preceding and following these gatherings.
The PQ calls on public health
The leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, believes for his part that the instructions governing the holiday gatherings emanate from a political choice rather than from public health recommendations.
“Public Health would never have agreed to make a plan more than a month in advance, because we know that medical data, data on the spread of the virus are changing,” he said on Tuesday , while the national director of public health, Horacio Arruda, was present when the government made its announcement last week.
“How do you explain that, more than a month in advance, we take a firm position on how to manage Christmas, when we do not have the data on the infections in Quebec that will take place during the holidays?” How can we explain that we did not think about planning the fate of workers who work until Christmas Eve, the fate of students who have exams during the withdrawal period, the fate of Boxing Day? How to explain that there would be such a level of lack of planning if it is not that there is an element of political pressure to quickly give answers to the population and then to look good politically? Added Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon.