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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Travel checkpoints within Quebec and between provinces are possible over spring break, says government

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QUEBEC CITY —
After hinting Tuesday that new public health rules might be put in place for spring break, Quebec’s government said today that road checkpoints are a possibility, though it previously said it lacks the resources for it. 

The measures will be announced in coming days, said Genevieve Guilbault, the public security minister.

“We know traditionally people go from one region to another in the spring break,” she said Wednesday.

“They locate cabins and auberge and things like that, so we are very worried. We have a lot of discussions with the [premier] and MNAs so we will come up with the answers as soon as possible.”

The government, Guilbault added, is on high alert.

“We are very, very worried. We have a lot of discussions,” she said.

Last week, the government rejected the idea of police checkpoints between regions saying it didn’t have enough officers to manage them with curfews and quarantines still in place.

Now, Quebec is not removing anything from the table including roadblocks limiting travel between the neighbouring provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick. 

“We are reflecting on the measures that we will put in place,” said Guilbault. “I am not capable this morning of confirming what measures they will be, but there will be some announcements.”

At the National Assembly Wednesday, opposition parties accused the CAQ government of improvising.

They said they continue to be concerned about travel between the regions and have been pushing for police checkpoints between regions to keep people from travelling.

The opposition parties now say the government doesn’t seem to have a clear strategy in place.

“We are asking for a long time [for] more transparency, to publicize the facts on which [Legault] is basing his decisions,” said Liberal MNA Marc Tanguay.

“It’s up to him to decide yes or no with respect to what you’re suggesting, and if he decides to go ahead he has to make it clear.”

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of Quebec Solidaire said the government’s announcement should not have been an afterthought.

“I think Mr. Legault realized that he forgot something last week when he announced there would be a flexibility between regions,” said Nadeau-Dubois.

“He realized that he forgot the critical issue of transportation between the regions. So now he’s preparing public opinion to announce what he should have announced last week, which is there will be rules about the transportation between regions.”

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