"How can we ask citizens to follow rules if they are constantly changing [...] based on political intuition or popular pressure?"
Quebec Liberal Party leader Dominique Anglade released a statement on January 5 slamming what she suggested was Premier François Legault's lack of control on pandemic management. The Liberal leader didn't pull any punches, imploring the government to trust science rather than "political intuition."
"For some weeks now, the government has abdicated its responsibilities. It has let its guard down and the fifth wave has hit us hard," Anglade said.
On a l\u2019impression d\u2019\u00eatre sur un bateau sans gouvernail et sans boussole. Je demande \u00e0 @francoislegault de reprendre le contr\u00f4le de la gestion de la pand\u00e9mie. #polqc #plq #Covid_19pic.twitter.com/zsleohxbxf— Dominique Anglade (@Dominique Anglade) 1641408716
The Liberal leader bemoaned that "the screening strategy is no longer working, the vaccination effort is behind schedule, schools are ill-prepared to receive students, childcare services have seen their guidelines change three times in the space of a few hours."
"In short, it's like being back at the beginning of the health crisis."
As the Omicron variant runs amok in the province, case counts are skyrocketing, new hospital admissions are at a pandemic all-time high and daily death tallies are hitting numbers unseen since January 2021.
The Legault government, in response, has reintroduced extreme health measures, including the closure of restaurant dining rooms and, controversially, a new nightly curfew.
The premier, meanwhile, has insisted he's doing the right thing.
At a press conference announcing the curfew, Legault said that "experts tell us there's a risk that [our hospitals] won't be able to treat all those who need it in the coming weeks. I know we're all tired, but it's my responsibility to protect ourselves from this. [...] I know the restrictions are difficult. I know there's a lot of anxiety."
Since the start of the most recent curfew, Quebec has installed a dizzying array of new rules and regulations, leaving a lot of people wondering where we're actually going — not least, the leader of the official opposition party.
"How can we ask citizens to follow rules if they are constantly changing, not for logical or scientific reasons, but rather because they are based on political intuition or popular pressure?" said Anglade.
"We feel like we are on a rudderless boat without a compass. I am asking François Legault to take back control of the management of the pandemic. I also ask him to consolidate the scientific and medical depth in the crisis cell by adding new independent players. Scientific expertise must now prevail over trial and error against a background of political strategy."