Prime Minister Legault cannot dodge debate on vaccine passports, says Anglade

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The leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec spoke at a congress of the youth wing with a hundred delegates in person and others online.

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TROIS-RIVIÈRES – Prime Minister François Legault cannot dodge debates with other political parties on how his government is handling the fourth wave of COVID-19, says the Liberal leader.

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“It is a democracy and we must conduct debates,” Dominique Anglade said on Saturday. “Generally speaking, that’s the state of mind he should have.

“Unfortunately, there are several debates that we have not been able to have in recent months because the CAQ has refused. The passport (vaccine) is an example. We should have had the debate months ago. We asked for it in May and they didn’t want to go ahead.

Anglade made the comment days after Legault balked at opposition calls for a parliamentary committee to debate the merits of the government’s COVID-19 measures, including the creation of vaccine passports for Quebecers.

Legault said he did not want to create a platform for conspiracy theorists to spread false information about vaccination. He insisted that Quebeckers support the idea and he believes he has all the legitimacy he needs to create the system.

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The opposition parties Liberal, Québec solidaire and Parti Québécois disagree and say that the experts must be heard before proceeding.

On Saturday, thousands of people marched through the streets of Montreal to protest against the passport project.

Anglade made these comments during a one-day convention on the politics of the liberal youth wing held at the CÉGEP de Trois-Rivières.

Concluding the convention at a press conference later in the day, Anglade said she was concerned about what she saw in Montreal.

“The reality is that we have two options: either we go back into containment or we will allow the vaccinated people to keep their freedom,” Anglade said.

“You want to make sure people understand. You don’t want to be in a situation where people get really aggressive about the situation. I hope we can have a dialogue with everyone and keep our cool.

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In a way, the convention has gone down in history. This is the first provincial political event in an 18-month pandemic where party members are physically present. To respect the rules of sanitary distancing, the liberals have opted for a hybrid format, with a hundred people in the room and 450 others online.

Delegates wore masks and had to show proof of double vaccination at the door. This included Anglade, who happily complied.

This is the first political event Anglade has attended in person since taking office in May 2020.

“We have done everything in our power to follow the rules and go above and beyond,” Anglade said.

The theme of the convention was family. After an intense debate, delegates voted 22-16 in favor of a four-day work week in Quebec without anyone experiencing a pay cut.

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The maximum number of hours a person could work per week would be reduced from 40 to 32. Employers would pay the difference with government assistance.

The motion was watered down somewhat at the last minute, with the Liberals saying pilot projects should be done before the plan is put in place. It has not been encrypted.

The youth wing hopes this becomes party-wide policy and eventually becomes part of a liberal election platform.

The congress marked a changing of the guard in the youth wing with President Frédérique Lavoie-Gamache replaced by Gabriel Ahmad who is committed to revitalizing the youth wing.

He said that Québec solidaire had too much trouble on university and CEGEP campuses and that the Liberals must find a way to reintegrate into the student world.

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The party itself is at a crossroads, hurting French-speaking Quebecers and gentle nationalists who are content to park their votes with the Coalition Avenir Québec.

If the Liberals are worried about their traditional support for the English-speaking community, it was not easy on the weekend. Barely a word of English was heard at the convention except for one sentence in Anglade’s closing speech.

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