Quebec won’t rule out law to ban anti-vaccine protests outside schools, hospitals

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Lakeshore hospital closes 2 operating rooms after nurses needed for ICU patients'
COVID-19: Lakeshore hospital closes 2 operating rooms after nurses needed for ICU patients
Quebec's health-care system is being put to the test. Hospital admissions of COVID-19 patients continue to rise and many hospitals are struggling with a shortage of staff. As Global’s Tim Sargeant reports, the crisis is coming to a head at the Lakeshore General Hospital, where many elective surgeries are being postponed and two operating rooms are closed. – Sep 20, 2021

Premier François Legault said Tuesday his government is looking at what it can do to stop people from protesting COVID-19 health orders outside the province’s schools and hospitals.

Legault said his government will “use whatever is necessary” to prevent people from disrupting students attending school or health-care workers entering hospitals.

“We’re not ruling out anything; indeed, it could be a special law,” Legault told reporters in Quebec City, after protesters had gathered earlier in the day outside a high school in a northern Montreal neighbourhood.

“We’re looking at what we can do, but it’s unacceptable to see anti-vaccine protests outside our schools and hospitals.”

Protesters have gathered outside schools in recent days to denounce health orders such as the COVID-19 vaccine passport. Last week, demonstrators rallied at McGill University Hospital Centre’s Glen site, some of them carrying signs questioning the use of COVID-19 vaccines. Others bore signs opposing rules imposed on health-care workers.

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Similar protests have occurred in other parts of Canada.

When asked by a reporter how a law would affect the right to protest outside schools and hospitals for non-COVID-19 reasons, Legault said the question is being studied.

“We’re looking at what it means, a protest outside a school or a hospital, and when we’re ready with something, we will come see you, and it will be very soon,” he said.

Later on Tuesday, Liberal education critic Marwah Rizqy posted to Twitter a bill she had drafted that would prevent protests that are “anti-vaccine and anti-health order” within 50 metres of an elementary or high school.

She said she had sent the bill to the justice minister and was “ready to sit all night to adopt this law that protects students.”

Click to play video: 'Small group of nurses protest against mandatory vaccines outside Montreal hospital'
Small group of nurses protest against mandatory vaccines outside Montreal hospital

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