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Quebec’s higher education and seniors ministers won’t seek re-election amid calls for resignation

Click to play video: 'Tearful testimony further contradicts initial claims at Herron coroner’s inquest'
Tearful testimony further contradicts initial claims at Herron coroner’s inquest
More revelations have surfaced about what happened in the days leading up to the Herron tragedy, where dozens of seniors died in long-term care during the pandemic's first wave. As Global's Gloria Henriquez reports, the opposition says a recording of a nurse's emotional testimony, recently made public, is further proof an inquiry is needed to shed light on what really happened – Apr 7, 2022

A pair of Quebec cabinet ministers will not seek re-election in the fall amid growing calls for their resignations over the government’s handling of a fatal COVID-19 outbreak at a Montreal long-term care home.

A spokesperson for Seniors Minister Marguerite Blais confirmed to Global News that she will not run again after media outlets reported earlier in the day that she would bow out. She had planned for a one-term mandate since she came out of retirement for her current role, the spokesperson added.

Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann, meanwhile, confirmed on social media Friday that she will be leaving politics.

“I would have liked to announce it to the citizens of my riding first, but I will not run again,” McCann said. “I will be a grandmother in the spring. It’s wonderful news and has pushed me to dedicate myself to my family.”

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The Coalition Avenir Québec MNA added that she will speak to her riding’s residents in the near future.

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The announcement from McCann, who has been a key figure in the party, comes as she has been under fire this week amid new revelations about dozens of pandemic-related deaths at the Residence Herron care home while she was health minister — a role she was demoted from a few months later.

The first wave of the COVID-19 swept through the home, where 47 people died in spring 2020.

Among the information brought to light this week, Radio-Canada reported on an email tabled into evidence at the inquiry into deaths during the pandemic in Quebec long-term care homes.

It revealed that cabinet ministers — including McCann and Blais— knew about the dire situation at the Herron care home at least 10 days earlier than they had previously acknowledged.

Newly released recordings of phone calls to a health line from March 2020 also showed how desperate the owners of Residence Herron were as the health crisis struck their establishment.

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Opposition parties have called for both Blais and McCann to resign this week. They have also demanded a public inquiry into the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

with files from Global News’ Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press

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