Montreal

Quebec Liberals propose specialized team to co-ordinate reopening of economy

Quebec Liberal leader Dominique Anglade says it's time to stop playing yo-yo with business lockdowns and to start learning to live with COVID-19.

Leader Dominique Anglade says it's time to start learning to live with COVID-19

Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade says the province's current piecemeal approach and lack of advance warning for businesses isn't effective. (The Canadian Press)

The leader of Quebec's official opposition (PLQ) is calling on the province to create a squad to co-ordinate the reopening of the province's economy as well as prepare for potential next waves of the pandemic. 

At a news conference Sunday, Dominique Anglade unveiled her plan for a "COVIE-19 unit" with a goal of adapting to life with the virus and preventing the economy from closing down in the event of a future wave. 

Anglade criticized the Quebec government's "short-term management" of the pandemic, saying it's time to "stop playing yo-yo" with business lockdowns. She says the piecemeal approach and lack of advance warning for businesses isn't effective.

"We need to determine in advance how we would react in the event of new variants," she said Sunday. "Don't wait until the last minute on Dec. 30 to announce what will happen on Dec. 31."

Anglade wants to see a plan for each sector affected by the closures, as the business world, restaurants, arts and culture, manufacturing, schools and places of worship do not have the same challenges to meet.

The provincial Liberals also want long-term procurement plans for protective equipment, screening tests, vaccines, medication and ventilation equipment.

The party wants the establishment of an independent scientific committee that will be part of the planning, saying Quebec must separate politics from science. The PLQ repeated its request for public health authorities and elected officials to hold separate news conferences. 

Health Ministry dismisses proposal

Quebec's Health Ministry came out against the PLQ's proposal, saying a new structure would create more red tape.

"We are already in constant contact with the sectors affected by the Omicron closures, as evidenced by our assistance programs," a statement from Christian Dubé's office reads.

"Creating a new structure at this time would only make things more difficult."

Pressure is growing on the Coalition Avenir Québec government to relax COVID-19 measures now that the peak of hospitalizations appears to have been reached.

The Parti Québécois also urged public health Friday to develop a "de-confinement" plan. PQ chief Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said many sectors are suffering from the lack of predictability and from confusion surrounding health measures.

Wtih files from La Presse canadienne and Shuyee Lee

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