Danielle McCann and Marguerite Blais will not stand for re-election

Radio-Canada was able to confirm the news first revealed by the Montreal Journal early this morning.

Danielle McCann subsequently announced her departure in a message posted on her Twitter account, regretting having been overtaken by the media.

Explaining that she will not seek a new mandate this fall to devote herself henceforth to her family, the minister adds that she will soon be a grandmother and that she intends to take advantage of this moment.

Reacting to Danielle McCann’s publication, Prime Minister François Legault thanked the minister on his Twitter account for her involvement and dedication.

What we went through together will always remain in my memory. We were lucky to have had you by our side for 4 years! And congratulations to you and your family! You will be an excellent grandmother! »

A quote from François Legault, Premier of Quebec

Marguerite Blais, who until recently said she wanted to seek another mandate, finally changed her mind and decided to put an end to her political career at the end of her mandate.

It must be said that the last few weeks have not been easy for the two ministers who have come under fire from the opposition, who are questioning their management of the health network during the first wave of COVID-19 which did more of 4,000 deaths in CHSLDs.

Marguerite Blais and her colleague Danielle McCann, who was Minister of Health at the time, were particularly singled out recently as part of coroner Géhane Kamel’s inquest into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 47 residents in conditions deplorable hygiene and care at the CHSLD Herron, in Dorval, during the first wave of the pandemic.

The Minister responsible for Seniors, Marguerite Blais

Photo: Radio-Canada / Nicole Germain

The opposition demanded their resignation this week, after Radio-Canada learned that the two ministers were aware of the desertion of staff and the critical conditions that prevailed at the private CHSLD Herron ten days before the daily The Gazette does not reveal the carnage that took place in the establishment.

The two women have always claimed that they were not made aware of the extent of the crisis at the CHSLD Herron before April 10, 2020, the date on which the article was published in the English-language daily.

Revelations that led Liberal MP Pierre Arcand, ex-colleague of Marguerite Blais, to treat the latter on Thursday incompetent during debates in the National Assembly. Meaningful remarks that hurt Ms. Blais, who yesterday deplored having been treated in this way by her colleagues in the National Assembly. Claiming to be tired of jeersthe minister said she had the impression that we are more looking for a culprit than to understand what happened.

I’m going to be 72, if I honestly thought I was wrong, would I get bombed like this, asked Marguerite Blaisvisibly shaken when she left the Blue Room. Members should be a little more civilized in the House. There are words that touch us, we are human beings.

Marguerite Blais and Danielle McCann have always denied having overlooked the extent of the situation in the CHSLDs, explaining that the authorities, then in the midst of a crisis, tried to protect the hospitals first, insofar as the staff of the CHSLD was supposed to know how to handle outbreaks of contagious diseases.

Danielle McCann, for her part, maintains that the Integrated university health and social services center and the civil security coordinators of establishments in the health network had been warned by his ministry at the end of January 2020 of the contagiousness of COVID-19 and to put in place health measures accordingly in their establishments.

Danielle McCann as she arrives for her press briefing.

Danielle McCann has been the MP for Sanguinet since 2018.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

The government, which then knew very little about the disease, had obviously not expected that the coronavirus would do such damage in long-term care centers. Last January, Marguerite Blais had also explained to Coroner Kamel that from January to March 2020, the risks associated with COVID-19 were considered to be weak for Canadians, by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Timely departures, according to the opposition

In the Parti Québécois, MP Joël Arseneau believes that the departure of the two ministers constitutes de facto recognition that they did not play their role during the crisis. For Mr. Arseneau, the moment chosen to announce their departure serves the government well, wishing to make lower the pressure after a particularly difficult week.

It is an indication that we are trying to do “damage control”, that we are trying to limit the damage, but it is in fact an indication that we recognize the ministerial responsibility which has not been assumed correctly.he added.

In the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), MP Marie-Claude Nichols denounced a derivation of the government, while in Québec solidaire, MP Andrès Fontecilla believes that the departure of the two ministers who have become a cannonball for the government ahead of the elections was written in the sky.

The three parties are calling for an independent public inquiry into the management of the crisis in CHSLDs.

Now 69, Danielle McCann was elected in 2018 in the riding of Sanguinet before being appointed Minister of Health in the first government of François Legault. In charge of Health until June 2020, Ms. McCann has been transferred to Higher Education, where she should complete her mandate which will end in the provincial elections in October.

Marguerite Blais, who has been in politics for fifteen years, was first MP for Saint-Henri from 2005 to 2015 under the Liberal government of Jean Charest, where she held the position of Minister of Seniors. She will resign in 2015 under the government of Philippe Couillard.

Ms. Blais will return to politics in 2018 by winning the riding of Prévost, under the banner of the CAQ this time. François Legault will make him his Minister responsible for Seniors and Caregivers in October 2018. Health problems forced her to take six weeks of leave last fall.

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