A public inquiry into CHSLDs? Not sure

A public inquiry on CHSLDs? Not S & ucirc; r

MISE & Agrave; DAY

Do we really need a public inquiry into the massacre in CHSLDs? The parliamentary session in Quebec City ended yesterday on this nagging question.

Contrary to what many believe, the answer is not straightforward. There are good arguments for it. And several good ones, too, to say no.


Among the best: the scale of the tragedy. Some 4000 dead? Why have there been more of them here than elsewhere?

Why are the calls like “please act now, please,” launched in mid-March 2020 by people in the middle, did they not follow through? Quebec has had a Minister of Seniors since 2007.

Yes, the Québec Ombudsperson submitted a comprehensive report. Other inquiries are currently underway (coroner, health commissioner, auditor general). But, as Joël Arseneau of the PQ noted yesterday, they “operate in silos” and have “too limited” mandates.

In addition, the investigation by coroner Géhane Kamel concerns five CHSLDs and one RPA. It has so far stuck with “parliamentary privilege,” which blocks access to information from the Crisis Staff. Lawyers for the Ministry of Health have invoked it, among other things, to prevent Ms. Kamel from consulting the pandemic scenarios of March 9, 2020. As part of a public inquiry, would the obstacle be lifted? Perhaps, but doubts remain.


The right arguments against an investigation? How to deliver a reasonable mandate? Listening to the opposition, it would be limitless.

The government is right: the powers of current investigators are those of a commissioner.

What more would we learn from a public inquiry? François Legault would repeat the same confessions of the type “we would have liked to stop the mobility of certain nurses or attendants from one CHSLD to another, but we thought that, in the balance of inconveniences, it was better to have employees in each CHSLD than to have [residents] who were not receiving any services at all ”.

When the oppositions say they do not want “to find guilty”, but “explanations”, this is not entirely true. They dream of a commission that would pillory the government. (The complaint lodged with the SQ in November by the Council for the Protection of the Sick will perhaps one day lead to the identification of culprits.)

Developments in the law since the Krever decision (1993, tainted blood case) have reduced the powers of commissions of inquiry. The glorious days of the Cliche Commission are over! With the charters, they became a quasi-trial with cross-examination. And the commissioners no longer even dare to blame! Do we want another billing orgy for lawyers costing $ 40, 50, 70 million and turning into dishwater?


L 'ideal? That our politicians finally do a serious synthesis of all the reports (published and to come) in order to define a comprehensive policy guaranteeing optimal treatment for the elderly during a pandemic and in all circumstances.

Qu 'they rummage in the library: among other things, they will find the reports of the Clair commission (2001), of the Goldbloom-Hébert consultation (2007), which recommended, among other things, an autonomy insurance.

That would be better probably just another commission. Better also than the ruinous program of the Seniors' Houses.

A survey public on CHSLDs? Not sure

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