Conservatives without masks in an RPA

(Nicolet) The call for caution in the presence of people vulnerable to COVID-19 was obviously not heard by Éric Duhaime and his team. The leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec made an announcement Sunday in a private residence for seniors where neither he nor his candidates wore masks, two days after their monster rally at the Videotron Center.

Posted at 10:30 a.m.
Updated at 1:36 p.m.

Mylene Crete

Mylene Crete
The Press

“There is no recommendation from Public Health”, he argues after being questioned by journalists at a press conference. “I know that the other candidates from the other parties are also campaigning for no mask, so I think that in Quebec we have suffered a lot from recent health measures and people are currently taking advantage of their freedom. »

“If I had been told to put it on, I would have put it on, ma’am,” he added. We asked them when we arrived and no one had any symptoms either. »

Wearing a mask is no longer mandatory in RPAs since May 14 when there is no outbreak of COVID-19. However, last week, several specialists, including Dr David Lussier, of the University Institute of Geriatrics of Montreal, had however called on the candidates and the leaders of all the parties to exercise caution in the presence of elderly and vulnerable people.

Éric Duhaime presented his plan on Sunday to improve the lives of seniors in the common room of Résidences Chambertin in Nicolet, two days after his mid-campaign rally where more than 2,000 people gathered inside the Videotron Center. The Festival d’été de Québec, which provided tens of thousands of festival-goers on the Plains of Abraham, generated strong transmission during the summer.

The owner of this private residence for seniors (RPA), Sylvain Mercier, confirmed that he had not asked to wear a mask. “People here go to the restaurant, go everywhere, are they obliged to put on a mask in the restaurant? He added that the residents were all vaccinated several times to be protected against COVID-19. Visibly moved, he then attacked the Integrated University Health and Social Services Center of Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Québe, which allegedly refused to vaccinate seniors two days before the expiry of their next dose.

Several candidates from other bets have campaigned to date in seniors’ residences without wearing the mask. A week ago, the CAQ candidate Bernard Drainville also removed a photo from social networks, where we see him without a face covering with a 96-year-old woman.

When a journalist asked Éric Duhaime if he or his team used rapid tests, the Conservative leader remained evasive. “If no one has symptoms, I guess we don’t test ourselves,” he replied.

LEDsr Karim Elayoubi, candidate in Argenteuil, said he tested himself for COVID-19 on Friday and did so regularly every other day. “I know I don’t have it right now,” he said.

Many conservative activists oppose health measures. Their chef Éric Duhaime advocates freedom of choice. In the event of a new wave of COVID-19, he would follow the recommendations of Public Health, but would not make any measures compulsory even in residences for the elderly. “For us, coercive measures have not proven themselves,” he said on Wednesday.

Duhaime blames the media

Shortly after the publication of this article, Éric Duhaime attacked the media in a message on Facebook. “Not a single media has raised the fact that Mr. Legault was surrounded by many seniors on August 30, without a mask and without social distancing, he lamented. The other chiefs were also seen with elders without masks, without social distancing. »

He then accuses the media of showing “double standards” in their coverage of the PCQ.

The leader of the Coalition avenir Québec, François Legault, stayed outside when he visited the elderly residents of Manoir Le Quartier in Saint-Georges-de-Beauce.

Plan for seniors

Home support, autonomy insurance, bigenerational homes… Contrary to those of his opponents, most of the Conservatives’ proposals to improve the lives of seniors are not quantified. His plan contains nine proposals:

  • plus home support
  • modify funding for organizations serving the elderly
  • offer a tax credit for career extension
  • offer autonomy insurance
  • decentralize services for seniors
  • reduce the isolation of seniors
  • funder of caregivers
  • relax the regulations for bigenerational homes
  • launch a commission of inquiry into deaths caused by COVID-19 in CHSLDs

The amounts of money that would be allocated to each of these measures are not designated. “When we favor, for example, home care and we favor someone rather than going to an institution, it is a transfer and not an addition of money”, underlined the Conservative leader. He added that enabling autonomy insurance is “not an expense” and that decentralizing services “is not a financial issue”.

He subsequently acknowledged that for home care and the autonomy of seniors, “there will be a cost”, particularly because of the aging of the population.

Only a few of the nine proposals are included in the financial framework presented by the party last week. This is the case of the tax credit for caregivers, which would be increased by 50% and would thus cost $300 million annually.

The tax credit for extending the careers of older workers, which would increase from $1,500 to $3,000 for those aged 60 to 64 and from $1,650 to $5,000 for those aged 65 and over, would cost more than $1 billion annually, according to the financial framework.

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