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Economic Recovery To Take 'Years' & Legault Says 'A New Society Will Emerge' From Crisis

He offered a first glimpse at the enormous changes to come.
Senior Editor
Quebec Economic Recovery To Take 'Years' & Legault Says Crisis Will Produce 'New Society'
  • On Thursday, Legault offered a first glimpse at the long road to economic recovery in Quebec, as well as the changes that could be coming our way.
  • The government's focus in the short term is on public health and the gradual reopening of businesses.
  • But larger discussions loom in the future.

On Thursday, Legault offered a first glimpse at the long road ahead and the profound changes that could reshape Quebec as a result of the current crisis. Stating that economic recovery is "going to happen over a number of years," the Premier made clear that he anticipates a "societal debate" about paths forward. He boldly predicted that "there's going to be a new society that's going to emerge from all of this."

Among the economic transformations that he foresees are more telework opportunities and an acceleration of the trend toward online shopping.

These will be "new ways of operating," he said.

"We will have to develop our expertise, our networks, and therefore [there is] a lot, a lot of work to do in terms of transporting goods and making home deliveries."

The Premier also specifically underlined the need for more domestic production to secure food and medical supplies.

"I've already talked about the importance of greater autonomy for our food, for all our medical equipment, so there are some important adjustments that are going to be made."

"We can assume that there will be fewer imports of Chinese products or products from certain countries, so it is important to develop more production of more kinds of products."

While the government prepares a plan for the gradual reopening of businesses and schools, larger conversations loom in the coming months.

The Legault government's current priority is to "save as many companies as possible," but discussions about further recovery efforts "will also have to be done with the opposition parties in the coming months and years."

He previously underscored the need in the short term to strictly follow public health recommendations, which he suggested supersede economic considerations.

"We will not open anything until we have the OK of [National Public Health Director] Dr. Arruda and his team. So I just want to be very clear, here."

On Thursday, he introduced the concept of "natural immunity," arguing that gradual deconfinement in the coming months is necessary in order to expose less vulnerable members of the population to antibodies.

"If everyone stays home, [...] we find ourselves in a situation where we have to wait for the vaccine, which will arrive in maybe a year, maybe two years. We cannot ask people to stay home for two years."

An extended period of confinement could also lead to a second outbreak.

"The worst thing to do would be to say to people: You all go out at the same time, in September or fall," he explained. "We could imagine, at that time, a wave that would be larger than the wave we have known for a month." 

On Wednesday, Dr. Arruda stated that the novel coronavirus could continue to make appearances in the next few years or until a vaccine is developed.

Stay tuned for more news.

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