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Quebec puts four more regions under alert as Legault warns of lockdowns


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QUEBEC — Premier François Legault hardened the tone Tuesday, slapping a COVID-19 pre-alert status on four more regions and warning parts of Quebec are close to the next more critical level, which will mean closing bars and restaurants.

Warning there is a now “a real risk” of a second wave that would mean the return of various levels of lockdowns, Legault said he does not understand why some people are still ignoring warnings — even holding fall barbecues and corn boils with large groups or gathering in restaurants.

In the long run, the community virus spread that ensues will mean more hospitalizations, more overcrowding, more disruptions in people’s lives and ultimately more deaths.

“The situation is critical, it is worrisome,” Legault said at a pandemic news conference as the National Assembly resumed sitting.

“Today I am making an appeal for the solidarity. Please think of vulnerable people, think of those waiting for surgery, think of those working in the health system, think of our children.



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Analysis: CAQ minister plans to reinforce French language


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QUEBEC — It was Simon Jolin-Barrette’s summer reading in 2019: a biography on the life of Camille Laurin, the man considered to be the father of the Charter of the French Language.

Written by former journalist Jean-Claude Picard — who recently died — the book describes Laurin as a man who saw the charter and protection of French as a tool toward the social liberation of Quebec’s francophones.

In other words, Laurin was a staunch nationalist (who as a member of the Parti Québécois also favoured independence).

Camille Laurin, who served as Cultural Development minister in the first Parti Québécois government and is considered the father of the Charter of the French Language, is seen here in a 1977 photo.
Camille Laurin, who served as Cultural Development minister in the first Parti Québécois government and is considered the father of the Charter of the French Language, is seen here in a 1977 photo. Photo by Garth Pritchard /Montreal Gazette

Today, 43 years after the adoption of the charter by the PQ, Jolin-Barrette finds himself in the same job, the Quebec minister responsible for language. He, too, plans to unveil his own vision, a new “action plan” that he says will reinforce French in Quebec.

How far will he go and when? The pandemic and economic downturn may affect the timing and scope of the plan, particularly if it implies slapping more red tape on struggling small-business owners. The Legault government may want to hold off before launching a new controversy.



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Projections show spike in COVID-19 deaths in Montreal if confinement lifted


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“It’s not a free-for-all at all at this point,” she said.

Hankins said it was too soon to say whether schools and non-essential stores should reopen in Montreal on May 25.

“It’s prudent to watch and see what happens,” she said.

“I know it’s unsettling not to have firm dates, but on the other hand we want wisdom to prevail here,” she added.

On Thursday, Premier François Legault again delayed the reopening of schools, daycares and non-essential retail outlets in the Montreal region.

Sixty-three per cent of Quebec’s 2,928 deaths from COVID-19 have occurred on the island of Montreal, as have 51 per cent of diagnosed cases of the disease, according to the latest statistics unveiled by the Quebec government on Sunday.



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