MISE & Agrave; DAY
I appreciated that my colleague Michel David broached this theme to shed light on the terrible tragedy in CHSLDs at the start of the pandemic.
The coroner's inquest Géhane Kamel and especially the report of the Protectrice du citoyen, Marie Rinfret, on the slaughter that killed 4,000 elderly residents in CHSLDs of all horrors force us to look for those responsible for what is written in a black page of the history of Quebec.
As we enter an election year – the election will be held in October 2022 – any investigations that could be carried out to ensure that such a catastrophe never happens again will be contaminated. Indeed, already traumatized by the polls which confirm the irreversible advance of the Caquist government, the opposition parties will do everything in their power to eat away at the votes in the CAQ and thus gain a few seats.
In this context, how can we envisage a public inquiry where the participants will have the public interest at heart first and foremost? What, tell me, were the endless months of the Charbonneau commission used for?
Find the culprits of this drift at the start of the pandemic is less simple than it seems. Ultimately, the government is responsible for decisions made on its behalf. But without the competence of senior officials and lower-level executives, he remains a sort of prisoner of these state employees.
Yet bureaucratization in Quebec is pharaonic. We have created a system of systemic disempowerment. We are only eight and a half million people. However, the complexity of our education and health systems suggests that there are more than 15 or 20 million of us. Who hasn't faced endless phone waits to talk to an employee? We are a long way from the nostalgic slogan of “six million, let's talk to each other”. In short, our world is dehumanized.
In our public services, no one seems incompetent. Or rather, the incompetent is the subordinate or the superior. We don't need a baseball club because we always throw the ball back to someone else.
Denial of reality
We also reject the principle of competence, because we would have to admit that we are not all equal and therefore that there are people who are more gifted, more educated or more valiant than others. The Legault government was certainly, like all Quebecers, appalled by these unnecessary deaths because of the carelessness and denial of reality by those in charge of CHSLDs. Then-health minister Danielle McCann appeared taken aback during some press briefings, and Dr Arruda appeared to contradict himself.
But the pandemic is not over. And with the approach of an election, would it not be reckless, even irresponsible, to now set up a commission of inquiry which will quickly turn into psychodrama and political rat race?
Les Quebecers are more disturbed than one would like to believe by these years of anxiety where death lurked. Do we collectively want the whole of Quebec to explode? Already the electoral campaign has started with its verbal excesses, its baseness and its half-truths. Even the most competent hardly escape it, alas!