Apparently I find therapeutic value in taking huge, heaping piles of shit and boiling them down to their essential elements–pardon the image, but the CAQ’s behaviour is more than worthy of this crappy metaphor.
At today’s vomit conference, Legault commented plainly (for the very first time) that « the situation is *not* under control in Montreal, » that it’s scary, and that no one is more worried about Montreal than he is–a clear attempt to save/boost face in the wake of Trudeau having expressed ‘concern’ for Montrealers’ wellbeing.
Today the press pressed him more than usual on the insane INSPQ projections published without announcement or discussion of any kind on Friday at 4pm (the ones that predict Montreal will see 150 deaths a day by July if we reopen as planned–not taking into account CHSLDs).
They asked why it was published at such an inopportune time for discussion, pointing out that many Montrealers were then faced with an entire weekend of profound anxiety. Not to mention, schools outside the city happened to open the day following said weekend! They asked why no one had at least addressed the public over the weekend, as the study warranted something in the way of a comment. They asked if the CAQ had been aware of these projections before they were published. They asked and somewhat persisted.
What proceeded was a frankly outrageous display of damaged reputation control in which both Legault and Arruda floundered fantastically, even contradicting each other in obvious ways. Legault’s face looked like it might crinkle up and freeze that way, and Arruda looked as frazzled as a baby chick who has just been born–without the cuteness factor. Hard to imagine, maybe, but just telling it like I see it.
In their ‘efforts’ to answer and not look abhorrently evasive, Legault maintained that the INSPQ is an independent body and that they had no idea when the study would be released. The fact that it was released on a Friday afternoon was beyond their control. He also shrugged (in a dismissive fashion that can only have been rehearsed), insisting that the projections don’t hold anything new, that they simply affirm what he’s been saying all along: it’s in control outside of MTL, but not in MTL [I’ll just point out the patent untruth of this–they’ve been saying it’s stable in MTL outside of CHSLDs the whole time]. Talk about gaslighting–our government relies on their ability to make us question our own minds. And they’re horrible at it. When pressed, he went even further down the path of apparent righteousness by insisting that refusing to address the public about the study over the weekend (Le Devoir asked and he said no, btw) was « not negligent, » that he felt the 3 conferences a week were enough. He rolled his eyes somewhere in there.
Arruda, when pressed about the INSPQ study, said he’d known it would be published on Friday or Monday, but didn’t know the numbers would be « so explosive » (apparently forgetting that Legault had already said the numbers were just an affirmation of what they already knew). When pressed further about why he hadn’t addressed the public about the projections he knew were about to be published when he visited Montreal on Friday, he scrambled like an egg, repeating the same thing about not knowing it would be so explosive.
Somewhere in the middle of this bitter mess of a vomit conference, Legault gave himself a pat on the back, pointing out that the INSPQ study had confirmed that they’d made the right decision by delaying the reopening of MTL’s schools and businesses until May 25th. When asked why they didn’t just push pause on specific dates until things are more under control, his line was that it’s because « businesses need to prepare, » and that they’d simply continue pushing the date if need be. I guess it’s better to instill a chronic anxiety in us all, retraumatizing people with the uncertainty of reopening week after week than to fucken hit pause and simply give businesses notice once things become more stable. And here I thought they were champions of mental health.
When they were pressed on why the CAQ is already beginning to allow Montrealers to travel to other areas of Quebec, effectively allowing people from a major hot spot to spread the virus in areas with hardly any cases, Legault actually had the gall to say that if people kept their 2-meter distance it should be fine, and that he didn’t want Quebecers « divided. » « We’re all in this together, » he continued, « and we all have to roll up our sleeves. » If that’s not appalling reasoning for choosing not to protect a cold spot from a virus-ridden hot spot, I don’t know what is. He added that if too many Montrealers flooded other areas and the virus seemed to be spreading, they might reinstate restrictions then. Arruda effectively agreed that it’s not *yet* bad enough to confine MTL. Gotta get some of them tourist dollars, first, I’m sure.
When asked about *who* was affected by the roughly 200 new deaths that occurred over the weekend, Arruda, rifling madly through his papers, finally mumbled something about only half of those being in CHSLDs.
When asked about the possibility of Montrealers ending up back in full confinement for the summer due to premature reopening potentially causing a spike in deaths, Legault insisted, yet again, that no one is more worried about it than he is. And his eye twitched. I almost missed it!
The truth is, our illustrious premier would have much preferred to spend today’s conference waxing sentimental about a Covid-19 benefit show for Quebec, which apparently happened over the weekend, featuring such shining Quebec stars as Celine Dion, Jean-Pierre Ferland, Ginette Reno, and a wackload of others hailing from la belle province. I could almost have laughed at the faraway look of joy in Legault’s eyes as he listed off their names (he veered onto this topic toward the start of the conference). Swollen nationalistic pride: his true, skewed motive for so much. That’s why it gave me the shudders when he went on about how proud he is of Quebecers, like some big, gross wannabe daddy. Ew.
The icing on today’s shit cake was a renewed call for health workers who are absent, or who had the virus but who’ve completed their isolation, to return. For those who happened to catch wind of this, I believe it was last week that McCann said healthcare workers who had contracted the virus could (must?) still come back to work as long as their symptoms had stopped. To be clear, infected staff moving between locations (not all of them symptomatic) are a real contributor to the spread of the virus–and therefore the insane staffing shortage.
I’ve thus far heard no concrete anything on the increased testing and contact tracing efforts we supposedly need if we’re to gain any semblance of ‘control’ in the coming months. They keep saying it’s happening, it needs to happen, we’re working on making it happen, but no actual plans, explanations or details to be discerned. And nothing useful from our mayor either. Plante seems afraid of stepping on Legault’s (obviously gnarled) toes, and more content to suck up to Arruda, in spite of the fact that she’s expressed she thinks « Quebec is going too fast. »
As far as I’m concerned, it happens to still be too early to reopen schools in the rest of Quebec too, and it also happens to be too early to force people back to work in construction and manufacturing (not that it’s *ever* ok to force people into unsafe work). The bar is far too low, friends.
The cherry on top of the icing on today’s shit cake: when a reporter asked Legault if he thought the slogan « Ça va bien aller » was appropriate for Montreal’s context now, he smiled and said, « Oui, ça va bien aller, éventuellement.”