Premier François Legault said the province will make a final decision by next Friday, Dec. 11, about whether to allow family gatherings, but the Liberal opposition said if Quebec bans Christmas gatherings, it is reneging on its side of the moral contract it proposed two weeks ago.
“The major question that we have is: are we still doing everything we can?” asked Liberal MNA André Fortin.
The premier originally said Quebecers could hold up to two family gatherings between Dec. 24 and 27 as long as they self-isolate for one week before and one week after.
Now, that’s looking less and less likely as the number of daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to rise.
“Quebecers, generally, in a majority way, are following the rules. They’re holding up their end of the contract. Is government holding up their end of the contract? Are they putting the odds on their side? Are they putting ventilation in schools? Are they making sure that all their health-care professionals are protected, that the virus isn’t going into our long-term residences?” asked Fortin.
Québec solidaire (QS) also said the government is not doing enough to protect health-care workers.
“More than 2,000 of them are missing on the front line right now because they are getting sick,” said QS house leader, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. On Tuesday, Legault confirmed that there are more than 6,500 employees in the health-care system who are currently on sick leave.
However, he said if the government is still waiting until the end of next week to make a final decision, it means not all hope is lost.
“Personally, I still have hope that we’re going to save Christmas this year,” he said.
The leader of the Parti Québécois is not so optimistic.
“We see a government that is already sending signals telling us ahead, ‘You should prepare. We’re going to break the moral contract. Brace yourself,'” said Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.
Psychologist Pierre Faubert said most Quebecers are probably already preparing themselves to not be able to see family at Christmas.
“Whether we have gatherings or not, this is going to be a unique Christmas….It’s soliciting our creativity,” he said.
Dr. Faubert added that even if we can’t have gatherings, Christmas marks a time of year when the days are getting longer. He said we can focus on that as a metaphor for slowly coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.View link »