The state of health emergency extended for a 100th time in Quebec
François Legault, Premier of Quebec.
The Quebec government extended the state of health emergency for a 100th time on Wednesday. Meanwhile, critics are getting louder and louder to end this state of emergency.
Set up on March 13, 2020, the state of emergency allows the Legault government to manage the pandemic using decrees. He can therefore govern without going through the debates in the National Assembly.
The Public Health Act allows the government to take measures “to protect the health of the people”. Among other things, he can order the closure of educational establishments or any other place of assembly without delay and without formality. He can also incur expenses and enter into contracts that he deems necessary.
However, the opposition parties consider this state of health emergency less and less necessary. The second opposition party, Québec solidaire, maintains that the management of the current pandemic is possible without resorting to a state of emergency. “We have been asking for months for the lifting of the state of health emergency, which we believe is not necessary to continue managing the pandemic.”
Liberal MP for Nelligan, Monsef Derraji, said presented a motion to the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon asking to end the health emergency as soon as possible in order to “deconfine democracy”.
“In our opinion, there is no longer any justification for maintaining the state of health emergency and all the exceptional aspects of governance that the government needs can be adopted by parliamentarians without maintaining governance by decree”, specifies the attaché of Parti Québécois press, Laura Chouinard-Thuly.
The government wants “agility”
In a parliamentary session on Wednesday afternoon, the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé defended the use of the state of emergency because it allows to show “agility”. He mentions rapid measures that have been put in place, such as telemedicine or the authorization of vaccination for certain trades. “Overnight, we added about twenty professions who came to help us in the vaccination process,” he says.
The government promises to introduce a bill that will make the transition between a state of emergency and a Quebec without a state of emergency. “I understand that the oppositions are questioning themselves. […] I remind you that we will be tabling a bill in the coming weeks which will make it possible to make the link between the health measures that we have made by decree, but also which will make the transition with the measures that must remain. Do people want to stop telemedicine? I don't think so,” says Minister Dubé.
A symbolic 100th
The oppositions feel that the democratic debate must return to the Assembly concerning the management of the pandemic. “It means that we have a government that has learned to govern without debate, without accountability and without consulting the opposition. It’s time to return to a normal democracy,” explains Laura Chouinard-Thuly.
“This 100th renewal is the symbol of a government that has taken a liking to the state of emergency, who has become accustomed to managing the pandemic behind closed doors, without consulting the people on the ground or the opposition parties. After nearly two years of a state of emergency, it is high time to submit the management of the pandemic to a healthy democratic debate, ”says the press officer for Québec solidaire, Sandrine Bourque.
A petition for the Lifting of the state of health emergency was registered with the National Assembly and collected 56,141 signatures.