The Sin of Incompetence | The duty

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Since the start of the pandemic, the opposition parties had been unable to take the Legault government really at fault, except for the way in which the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, had distorted the recommendations of the Public health with regard to air quality testing in schools.

This time, they can accuse him of having tried to hide crucial information concerning the tragedy of spring 2020, when thousands of elderly people were abandoned to their fate in CHSLDs that offered them no protection against the virus. The difference is that there were no deaths in the schools.

In the end, the inspection reports were not destroyed, as the Deputy Minister responsible for Seniors, Nathalie Rosebush, had nevertheless assured Coroner Géhane Kamel. But we would never have known if Radio-Canada colleague Thomas Gerbet had not raised this hare. It is troubling.

We understand that the Minister of Health at the time, Danielle McCann, did not have time to read all these reports, but she did not even seem to know of their existence. In reality, many things escaped her in the network for which she was responsible, including that one could die of thirst.

She denies having lied by declaring under oath to have launched the alert in January, but the note addressed to the management of the establishments that she made public is too general to be convincing. Nowhere is there specific mention of CHSLDs.

Tuesday, we asked the Ombudsperson, Marie Rinfret, if the chronic lack of preparation of CHSLDs should be attributed to negligence. “Honestly, I don’t believe so,” she replied. If it is not negligence, it must be concluded that there is incompetence.

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In his defense, Mme McCann had not been appointed to Health to manage a crisis. On the contrary, we relied on his passivity to forget the muscular activism of Gaétan Barrette. She was just the wrong person, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. The world of higher education, for which she is now responsible, must keep their fingers crossed that nothing untoward happens.

Competence is not necessarily a criterion for advancement in politics. Other factors often take precedence in the composition of the Council of Ministers, as evidenced by the many trial and error of the past three years. Incompetence is considered a venial sin, unless it puts the government in serious embarrassment.

Prime Minister Legault is certainly sincere when he says he did his best with the information he had. In the face of justice, ignorance of the law is not, however, an admissible excuse. In politics, that of reality is not either.

Mr. Legault affirms that almost everywhere on the planet, we had the reflex to evacuate the elderly from hospitals to welcome those who were affected by COVID-19, but it must be noted that this had consequences infinitely more dramatic in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada.

There are only two weeks left in the parliamentary session. The minibudget that the Minister of Finance is presenting today may serve as a diversion for a day or two, but the opposition will not let it go.

The government could hope that after the public hearings conducted by the coroner and the holiday break, the year 2022 could start on a better note, but now Mr.e Kamel has decided to hear new witnesses as of January 10.

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Somewhere in early spring, she will deliver her report, which promises to be tough. There will then be six months left before the next election. Six months that might seem like an endless visit to the dentist.

The opposition parties are not calling for the establishment of a public commission of inquiry in the hope that the government will eventually give in, but rather to hear it reiterate its refusal on a daily basis. No matter what arguments he may advance, a question will gradually creep into people’s minds: “What is he still trying to hide?” “

It is so common to hear a government blame its predecessor that it no longer impresses anyone. The Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, however, seems to want to investigate the trial more seriously.

“I will have the opportunity, over the next few weeks, to fully explain the state of health when we took over the government. Then I think the people in front of us won’t like the answer, ”he said. To hear him, it is rather the management of the Couillard government that should be investigated.

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