At an early morning meeting between re-elected Mayor Valérie Plante and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Montreal City Hall on Friday, housing, public transit, the pandemic and most notably, public security in the city were the main topics of discussion.
Montreal's mayor once again implored the federal government to consider banning handguns across the country.
J\u2019ai eu une excellente rencontre avec @JustinTrudeau!\n\nNous partageons plusieurs priorit\u00e9s, dont la s\u00e9curit\u00e9 publique, l\u2019habitation, le transport collectif et le d\u00e9veloppement de l\u2019Est de Montr\u00e9al. Le gouv. canadien est un partenaire dans l\u2019essor de notre m\u00e9tropole. #polmtlpic.twitter.com/B825A1ugNK
"Canada needs to be a country that distinguishes itself from our neighbours to the south," Plante told journalists after her meeting with the prime minister. "Where gun trafficking and the normalization of guns is unacceptable."
In recent months, there have been several reports of firearm incidents, murders and other violent attacks. Most recently, on November 14, a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed near a Villeray high school. The SPVM said that it was the 31st homicide in the city this year.
Public safety and security were hot-button issues during the recent municipal election, as well, with all the candidates presenting plans to target gun violence in the city.
The mayor said Friday that "we should ban handguns and we should be even stronger on assault weapons."
Plante spoke of the need to support this position across Canada, even in places where sentiments about firearms might be different from Quebec's.
"I know that it's not popular everywhere, but here in Quebec, I think we have a consensus that it's the right thing to do," she said.
"Mr. Trudeau showed a lot of openness and he agreed that the federal [government] has to do more."
Avec mon coll\u00e8gue @marc_tanguay on demande \u00e0 la #CAQ de ne pas renouveler le d\u00e9cret d'urgence pour une 86e fois. La gestion par d\u00e9cret, sans reddition de compte, dure depuis plus de 600 jours. Si on peut faire du karaok\u00e9, on peut redonner la d\u00e9mocratie http://xn--qubcois-cyab.esqu\u00e9b\u00e9cois.es\u00a0.pic.twitter.com/0g65ukt7LJ
Quebec has continually renewed the health emergency it declared at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, keeping the province in a state of emergency for more than 600 days.
This emergency order grants the government special powers to implement health measures very quickly, passing them as decrees instead of laws, which means they aren't subject to the same process of checks and balances.
The Quebec Liberal Party has challenged the CAQ's use of these decrees in the past with Liberal leader Dominique Anglade calling them "authoritarian." On the day of this particular parliamentary session, she tweeted, "If we can do karaoke, we can restore democracy."
During the question period, Tanguay, the MNA for LaFontaine, spoke critically on the CAQ's use of these powers and asked for a debate in the National Assembly.
"Quebecers have been living under a political regime that has all the powers for 607 days," he said. "A month ago, the premier was saying: The worst of the crisis is behind us [...] that doesn't justify the fact that they are going to renew this."
He continued, "So, what does the CAQ not want Quebecers to know?"
Jolin-Barrette defended the use of emergency decrees to control the pandemic.
"Is the member for LaFontaine aware that there is a virus, COVID-19, previously known as the coronavirus [...] that all measures have been put in place to control the pandemic [...] that there are challenges, Mr. Speaker, throughout the world, including Quebec? Quebec is part of planet Earth," said Jolin-Barrette.
"Is the member for LaFontaine aware of this or [...] does he deny this reality? Does he believe that it is a conspiracy? Is he a conspiracy theorist?"
Liberal house leader André Fortin stepped in to call Jolin-Barrette's remarks a "completely unwarranted attack that deserves an apology" and asked that the word "complotiste," conspiracy theorist in French, be added to a list of unparliamentary terms that are banned from the National Assembly.
François Paradis, president of the National Assembly, didn't formally ban the term but said, "I don't want to hear that term again with respect to any member of the House."
Jolin-Barrette's office confirmed that he later texted Tanguay to offer his apologies.
Many provinces have restricted access to non-essential services and events, such as restaurants and concerts, to fully vaccinated residents and visitors.
Provinces recognize the federally approved vaccine passport. The government states online that provinces and territories may actually "ask you to use this proof to access non-essential services."
What information is on the vaccine passport?
Similar to Quebec's VaxiCode app and pdf proof of vaccination, the federal vaccine passport will include your first and last name, your date of birth and your COVID-19 vaccination history (vaccine lot numbers, names of manufacturers and dates received).
Unlike VaxiCode or the provincial pdf, the Canadian vaccine passport will have the federal government logo in the top right corner.
The document will have a QR code in addition to this information.
How can Quebecers get their federally approved proof of vaccination?
The provinces and territories are distributing the federal vaccine passport.
Quebecers can find it the same way they would download the provincial proof of vaccination document.
A portal on the Quebec government website prompts visitors to enter identifying information. They can then opt to receive a link to their vaccination proof either through text or email.
The link takes Quebecers to a page where they can download proofs of vaccination for use within Quebec (the VaxiCode app or a pdf document with a QR code) and for use outside of Quebec, the federally standardized vaccine passport.
At a press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland announced a series of new programs and COVID-19 benefits that will replace the current Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).
Freeland said the programs will include "more targeted measures" in contrast to what she called the "very broad-based support that was appropriate at the height of our lockdowns."
Among those new programs is the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, which will provide $300 a week to eligible workers who can't work because of a lockdown in their area between October 24, 2021, and May 7, 2022, according to a press release.
There are also rent and wage subsidy programs for the tourism and hospitality industry (up to 75%) and other "hard-hit" businesses (up to 50%) that "can show they have faced deep and enduring losses," Freeland said.
The CRB, which ends on October 23, provided income support for workers who were directly affected by COVID-19 and weren't eligible for standard employment insurance benefits.
For a period of 54 weeks, workers could "receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) or $600 ($540 after taxes withheld) for a 2 week period" if they qualified.
"Providing support to businesses and workers during lockdown allowed us all to do the right thing together and to save lives," the deputy prime minister said at the press conference.