The august Blue Salon is not spared by health measures: Tuesday, elected officials made their parliamentary return with their faces covered with a procedural mask and surrounded by Plexiglas. But the debates on how to manage the crisis have picked up exactly where they left off almost two months ago.
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Like last fall, the National Assembly will conduct its work in a reduced format in order to respect a healthy sanitary distance. Of the 125 deputies, only 37 take part in the question period on a daily basis, in a format that respects the weight of each political party.
But public health has imposed new conditions to allow this return to the benches, while the Legault government wanted to resume work in virtual mode for the first week.
Everyone now has to wear a procedural mask, except when speaking. Plexiglass panels have also been added where physical distancing is more difficult.
The schedule has also been adapted to allow the curfew to be observed, while public consultations will continue by teleconference.
For the opposition parties, the parliamentary re-entry was an opportunity to question the strategies of the Legault government, in particular its rejection of rapid tests and air purifiers, as well as the delays in the establishment of a tutoring program for schoolchildren.
“Mr. President, you noticed that, on your calendar, today is February 2nd. February 2 is Groundhog Day. You can not make that up. We are redoing the same mistakes as in the past, ”launched the liberal leader, Dominique Anglade.
The official opposition is surprised to see Quebec shun the vast majority of rapid screening tests sent by the federal government, while Ontario is relying heavily on this strategy.
But the Legault government doubts their reliability and believes that traditional screening meets demand in Quebec.
“In Ontario, they are forced to fall back on less reliable rapid tests,” said Premier François Legault.
“I find it interesting to talk about groundhog day because it is repeated, it is repeated, it is repeated in the opposition,” replied the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, at his side, a few minutes later.
Measures for companies
In addition, the discussions revealed that the Legault government will soon unveil new measures to help businesses.
A recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business indicates that 17% of Canadian SMEs feel at risk of permanently closing their doors due to COVID-19.
” In Quebec [à] 11%, we are the best province, and do you know what, Mr. President? We are not satisfied with that, we will announce other measures to be even better, ”promised François Legault.
What they said
“Last week, the Superior Court taught the Prime Minister a lesson in compassion. By accepting the ruling in favor of the homeless, the government admitted what everyone understood from the first day of the curfew. ”
– Manon Massé, Solidarity Quebec
“From the start, we have been faced with late announcements which often bring more questions than answers. Take tutoring: while it was requested for the start of the September school year, well, it will be deployed in February. “
– Véronique Hivon, Parti Québécois
“In this case, we have the impression of finding ourselves in exactly the same debate as on the mask a year ago. “
– Marie Montpetit, Liberal Party of Quebec, on rapid tests