Pandemic Bulletin | The duty

Because of the pandemic, I will not be publishing my traditional government and opposition newsletters. The main players in the last three months are nevertheless given a rating.

The Prime Minister François Legault certainly deserves a communication award. He knew how to find the words to inspire the population, but its great popularity cannot help forgetting that Quebec is by far the place where the virus has claimed the most victims in Canada and one of the five most affected in the world by million inhabitants. After a good start, his flip-flops were numerous and confusing. The SOS in the army was humiliating, but it seems to have finally managed to find a solution to the problem of the shortage of manpower in the CHSLDs. His gratuitous attacks on journalist Aaron Derfel and acting PQ chief Pascal Bérubé testify to the wear and tear of his nerves. B

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety, Geneviève Guilbault, chose the wrong word by asking Quebecers to be “docile”, but she generally did well when she replaced Mr. Legault in the press briefings. The closure and reopening of the different regions were carried out without problem. B

Quebec did not have the colossal sums that Ottawa spent on helping businesses and workers affected by the pandemic, but the tandem Pierre Fitzgibbon (Economy) – Eric Girard (Finances) has well targeted the support measures without robbing the bank. B

The hospital network held up, but the Minister of Health, Danielle McCann, was completely overcome by the CHSLD disaster, which would have been less deadly if the protective equipment had not been sorely lacking. She is not responsible for the bureaucratic monstrosity of the health care system, but she seemed incapable of enforcing her directives. VS

The President of the Conseil du trésor, Christian Dubé, which hoped to take advantage of the pandemic to quickly settle collective agreements across the public sector, has hit a wall. Even the increase in the remuneration of attendants to beneficiaries is problematic. He should have foreseen the outcry provoked by Bill 61 on the advancement of infrastructure work. Putting the responsibility of its postponement in the fall on the opposition cannot hide its own failure. D

The Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette, was called a “boniche” by the solidarity member of Mercier, Ruba Ghazal. Asking its officials to act “as if they were the promoters” of the projects the government wished to accelerate can only accredit the softness that has already been blamed on it. His exclusion from the Prime Minister’s revival committee testified to his lack of influence. D

The coincidence of the pandemic with the negotiations for the renewal of collective agreements in the public sector already made collaboration between the government and the unions more difficult, but the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, completely failed in its attempt to mobilize the public network. He managed to get rid of not only the teachers, but also the principals. D

It would be unfair to lay the entire responsibility for the drama of the CHSLDs on the Minister responsible for Seniors, Marguerite Blais, but she couldn’t wash her hands that easily. She could not explain the slowness in installing air conditioners in CHSLDs where people have been suffocating for years. His beautiful image, which had contributed to the CAQ’s victory in 2018, was taken seriously. D

While Montreal was the epicenter of the pandemic, the minister responsible for the Metropolis, Chantal Rouleau, remained invisible, unable to exercise any leadership. It was only when he set foot there himself, two months after the start of the crisis, that Mr. Legault seemed to remember his existence. E

Periods of crisis are ungrateful for opposition MPs, especially those who are not among the “stars” who are showcased during question period in the National Assembly. Many of them are undoubtedly behind the scenes, but two Montreal elected officials, Enrico Ciccone (Marquette) and Paule Robitaille (Bourassa-Sauvé), were particularly noted. Mr. Ciccone was as courageous on the ground as he was on the ice by volunteering in a CHSLD in Lachine, while Robitaille worked like a devil in holy water to take care of her constituents in Montreal North, who seemed to be left to fend for themselves. AT

True to herself, Manon Massé (Sainte-Marie – Saint-Jacques) proposed imposing a “pandemic tax” on businesses that have benefited from it. Despite their differences, Mr. Legault wanted to highlight his “qualities of heart” on Friday. It was on his proposal that he undertook to present a plan to combat racism. B

Mr. Legault was wrong to accuse Pascal Bérubé (Matane) wanting to “kill tourism” when he rightly asked him about the consistency of the decision to lift road checks in the regions. One cannot accuse the interim chief of the PQ of having sinned by excess of partisanship: from the beginning of the pandemic, he warned the population against misinformation, inviting him rather to trust daily press briefings of the Prime Minister and the Dr Horacio Arruda. B

The trio formed by Marwah Rizqy (Saint Laurent), Christine Labrie (Sherbrooke) and Véronique Hivon (Joliette) has continued to denounce the “floating” of the Minister of Education over a possible start of the school year, the shortage of tablets allowing distance education and the fate of pupils in difficulty. B

By depriving Alexandre Cusson of the possibility of campaigning, the pandemic paved the way for the crowning of Dominique Anglade (Saint-Henri – Sainte-Anne). Although her victory was not very glorious, she nonetheless remains the first woman to lead the PLQ in more than 150 years of history. At the National Assembly, she gave a little boost to the official opposition. B

André Fortin (Pontiac) has multiplied the warnings on the dangers of too hasty deconfinement and denounced the gaps in the management of the pandemic by the Ministry of Health, in particular its failure to provide the personnel of the network with the necessary protective equipment. B

What made Gaétan Barrette (La Pinière) so detestable when he was in power served him well in the opposition. His criticisms of Bill 61 were as harsh as they were justified. He took advantage of the pandemic to rehabilitate as an expert with certain media, but the crisis also gave rise to a real trial of the reforms he imposed when he was Minister of Health. The CISSS and CIUSSS, which have become a symbol of red tape, have been identified as the main cause of the network’s inability to respond better. VS

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