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14 April 2020

Concerns for many weeks

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Over the course of the past few days, all of Quebec was shaken by the horrors experienced at the Herron long-term health-care facility in Dorval. Our seniors found themselves without enough staff to care for them. Since March 13, there have been 31 deaths.

A police investigation and a coroner’s inquest are both currently underway.
I cannot even imagine the distress experienced by families of victims and residents who were not able to get any news on their parent’s health. How is that even possible?

Other establishments also made the headlines: the CHSLD Ste-Dorothée in Laval, where an investigation is underway as well, the Résidences Floralies in LaSalle, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci Residence in Montreal and the CHSLD Laflèche in Shawinigan.

Over the last few weeks, MNAs have received numerous calls from citizens and health care workers who are worried about the situations in our long-term health-care facilities.

The concerns are about management of protective material, the lack of clear recommendations for the protocols to be followed, as well as the fear employees have about working in these environments. Many concerns were also sent to us about home care: currently, seniors and handicapped people are no longer receiving home visits.

We have conveyed these concerns to the Premier as well as the Ministers responsible for Health and Senior Citizens. We have observed discrepancies between the information that was conveyed during press conferences and what we are being told on the ground.

MNAs have been doing all they can to get information to reassure worried citizens. Our one and only desire is to ease the growing anxiety.

I am completely aware that Quebec is going through an unprecedented crisis. That is why we put partisanship aside so that we could all work towards the same objective of getting through this crisis as quickly as possible.

On Saturday, the Premier mentioned that once this crisis is over, a collective reflection should be held to discuss our expectations for seniors’ treatment. I agree with him and we will formulate proposals focused on retention and training for health care workers.

Until then, we believe that there must be greater transparency with regards to the situations in each of the long-term health-care facilities, whether public or private. This information will ensure that the population has the right information.

There will be lessons to be learned from this crisis. I understand that when there is a tsunami, we are only able to truly take stock of the situation once it has passed.

However, citizens have the right to information updates while we are in the eye of the storm.  
No one is here to point fingers. We all have a collective responsibility in this health crisis affecting Quebec.

All MNAs from the National Assembly are in their respective ridings working to support their citizens. In some ways we are like transmission channels between the government and citizens.
It is therefore only fitting that the information we have is correct.

I will conclude by reiterating my willingness, and that of my team, to work in close collaboration with the government.

I also salute all front-line workers during this crisis, they have all my admiration.

Pierre Arcand
Interim Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party