Montreal Public Health said no to the curfew

Montreal Public Health opposed Quebec’s imposition of a second curfew in Quebec last December. Instead, she recommended the implementation of “alternative measures” to contain the transmission of COVID-19.

Posted at 3:47 p.m.
Updated at 4:22 p.m.

Henri Ouellette-Vezina

Henri Ouellette-Vezina
The Press

This is shown in the essentials of the recommendations sent by the regional director of public health, the Dre Mylène Drouin, which were first obtained by Radio-Canada on Friday.

In the document, of which The Press also got snippets, Mme Drouin suggests “the implementation of alternative measures to the imposition of the curfew, based on their effectiveness in controlling transmission and their lower potential to generate collateral impacts disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable populations”.

She adds that “if recourse to the imposition of a provincial curfew were to be considered to control transmission in Quebec, the Montreal DRSP recommends that the Public Health Ethics Committee or any other independent ethics service be mandated to provide an opinion.

Lasting from December 31 to January 17, the curfew was also poorly received by organizations and a good part of the population.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

The Dre Mylène Drouin, regional director of public health for Montreal

“These recommendations were based on the situation and the reality in the Montreal region, where we considered that the collateral impacts of such a measure were considerable for the vulnerable populations of the metropolis”, specified Friday the spokesperson of the Montreal Public Health, Jean-Nicolas Aubé, by email.

Of note: this was not the first time that the Dre Mylène Drouin challenged the validity of certain decisions of the Legault government. In May 2020, she stated in particular that The Press that the government should have managed the COVID-19 pandemic from the metropolis, rather than doing it from Quebec.

The national first, retorts Quebec

Called to react on Friday, the Legault government assured that it listened to the opinions of Public Health, saying first to refer to national authorities. “The operation has been the same since the start of the pandemic: the government receives the recommendations of the National Directorate of Public Health. The National Directorate of Public Health has prior meetings with the regional directorates, ”says the press attaché to the Minister of Health and Social Services, Marjaurie Côté-Boileau.

We did not want to impose a second curfew on Quebecers, but we had to reduce contacts to save hospitals. We were in a meteoric rise in cases at that time. We followed the recommendation of Public Health.

Marjaurie Côté-Boileau, press secretary to the Minister of Health and Social Services

The opposition parties were quick to react to the news on Friday, when a meeting was held precisely at 3 p.m. with Prime Minister Legault. “The very day of the announcement of the curfew, I asked for the opinion of public health support, otherwise the PQ would not support this measure. Friday during the appeal of the oppositions [avec le premier ministre], I asked again copy [de] this opinion. We still haven’t received anything, ”laughed PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon on Twitter.

At Québec solidaire, the health critic, Vincent Marissal, accused Mr. Legault of having “chosen in full knowledge of the facts to reinstate the curfew, a repressive measure, when he knew very well that it would affect the young and the most vulnerable.

“It is very serious for a government not to listen to science. The Quebec population will never see the light at the end of the tunnel if the CAQ continues to promote repressive measures that harm the most vulnerable and whose effects have never been proven,” he insisted.

Same story with the Liberals. “Clearly there is a crisis and a clash of visions. I wonder about the decision-making process, ”thundered the new spokesperson for health records, Monsef Derraji. Its leader, Dominique Anglade, no longer participates in meetings with Mr. Legault, saying he is “instrumentalized” by him.

All this occurs while at the microphone of Patrick Masbourian, Friday, the acting national director of public health, the Dr Luc Boileau, indicated that the deconfinement “could start before [la mi-février] “. “I believe that we have the capacity to lift some restrictions beforehand,” he judged, saying however that he had to examine the situation more closely before making a recommendation to Quebec. “For older people, being able to go to church is important. For young people, it is extracurricular activities. We must keep a coherent landscape and I will not tell you that we will reopen one priority over another. It will be necessary to maintain a coherent and equitable landscape, ”he also confided to Philippe-Vincent Foisy on the airwaves of QUB Radio.

With Fanny Lévesque, The Press

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