At 1:00 p.m., for once, at his press conference, Prime Minister François Legault was accompanied by the three opposition leaders. Finally.
After months of political eclipse caused by the pandemic, Dominique Anglade (PLQ), Manon Massé (QS) and Paul St-Pierre Plamondon (PQ), were able to present themselves on equal terms. Or almost … The idea for this press conference came from the new head of the PQ.
With the second wave hitting very hard – and the holidays approaching with its risks of an even more marked spread of Covid-19 – there was very little disagreement, however.
Their common objective being to send together the message to Quebecers to respect the sanitary instructions and the semi-confinement recently announced by the government.
We also know that at the end of the parliamentary session, Mr. Legault undertook to contact the opposition leaders at least once a week. At least during the holiday season.
What follows will say whether their contribution will be taken into account by the “crisis unit”.
At the press briefing, a lot of topics, but that of private gatherings and trips to the South, quickly took over.
Each chief spoke about it with almost clenched teeth in disappointment when he saw thousands of Quebecers fly south. In short, as if the pandemic no longer existed. And without the slightest consideration for the possibility that they bring the virus back here, with them.
As I wrote in my column today, this is pure selfishness. We can’t get by. There is no other way to describe this mind-boggling phenomenon.
Especially since the mandatory 14-day quarantine after returning from a trip, how do you really check whether people are doing it or not?
This responsibility would normally rest with the federal government, which is also responsible for airports and borders.
While many Quebeckers continue to reduce their contacts and limit themselves to their residential “bubble” over the holidays, the sight of all these planes taking off abroad arouses anger. Not to say, gagging.
However, we know that during the spring break in March, the return of many Quebecers from abroad had greatly contributed to spreading the virus to the most vulnerable people.
In the second wave, the transmission being community-based, there is cause for serious concern about all these trips to the South.
Above all, there is much more to do than worry about it. We must act.
Many experts, quite frankly, would just close the border to non-essential travel.
Otherwise, the obligation of quarantine on return must be monitored much more vigorously.
On Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford blasted the federal government for not even automatically imposing passenger screening tests at airports. Is Canada, once again, sleeping on gas?
Doug Ford also promised to do it himself if the Trudeau government does not. Would the Legault government do the same?
For the moment, Prime Minister Legaut is limited to saying that he will ensure, with the Trudeau government, that “very severe measures are put in place to follow people when they return (from travel) to ensure that they do their quarantine ”.
One thing is certain: for all Quebeckers who have no longer counted their own sacrifices since the start of the health crisis; for all exhausted health workers; for the more than 7,000 people who have died here from Covid-19, strong action must be taken to prevent these irresponsible travelers from spreading the virus once they return to Quebec. And quick.
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