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Legault singles out English media for poll showing fear in anglophones

Quebec Premier François Legault speaks at his daily media briefing. Global News

A new poll commissioned by the Quebec Community Groups Network shows anglophones and allophones are more worried than francophones about contracting COVID-19.

The poll was conducted by Leger. It shows that 68 per cent of anglophones and 71 per cent of allophones are personally afraid of contracting the virus compared to 47 per cent of francophones. Montreal anglophones are the most afraid of contracting the virus with 72 per cent saying they’re afraid they or someone in their family will fall sick.

When asked in his daily briefing why he thinks anglophones fear catching the virus more, Legault suggested media coverage may be partly to blame.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Vast majority of Quebecers think masks should be mandatory, poll shows

“It’s a question of information,” he said. “I’m trying to do my best in French and in English so I don’t see why the result is not the same for francophones and anglophones. I guess maybe The Gazette has a certain responsibility.” He went on to say that he didn’t agree with some reporting by the Gazette’s health reporter.

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In a tweet late this afternoon Montreal Gazette editor-in-chief Lucinda Chodan defended the work of health reporter Aaron Derfel.

The premier’s remarks caused an outcry on Twitter with dozens of Quebecers rallying to Derfel’s side, praising his reporting, including his regular Twitter threads examining the high number of cases among CHSLD residents and health care workers.

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Derfel also took tweeted about the comment.

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Most of those surveyed said they want the government to slow down or maintain the pace of de-confining. In fact, only 8 per cent of those surveyed say they want the government to acclerate social distancing and self-isolation measures.

And more than half of those surveyed are satisfied with the measures put in place to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The poll was conducted from May 1 to 6, 2020. Some 1,638 Quebecers were surveyed, including 694 English-speaking Quebecers. The margin of error is 3.08%, 19 times out of 20.