Quebec politician admits to breaking gathering and curfew restrictions with premier

Parti Québécois MNA Pascal Bérubé recalled how he met with Premier François Legault during the height of Quebec's COVID hysteria, seemingly breaking the strict gathering and curfew rules the province had in place at the time.

Quebec politician admits to breaking gathering and curfew restrictions with premier
The Canadian Press / Jacques Boissinot
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In a politically-themed podcast, Pascal Bérubé, a member of the National Assembly of Quebec for the Parti Québécois, recounts an incident during the pandemic when, as he was drinking wine in the office of Premier François Legault, the latter allegedly offered him an exemption from the curfew.

During the pandemic, residents were subjected to some of Canada's most stringent health measures, with fines exceeding $1,000 for violators. In total, Quebec authorities issued over 43,000 fines during the pandemic for violations of health regulations, totalling $65 million in fines.

Quebec quickly became a province with a fearful public, but one that saw weekly protests against health measures.

The number of cases of anxiety and depression skyrocketed during the pandemic, with many people suffering from isolation and other negative effects of confinement.

It is alleged that in February 2021, Pascal Bérubé and Premier François Legault were drinking wine in the mid-afternoon in the premier's office in Montreal. This was a time when individuals living alone were allowed to join one other person residing at a different address, forming a “social bubble”. Quebec's first curfew also came into place on February 9, 2021.

In a conversation on a politically-themed podcast called Politiquement Parlant, Mr. Bérubé, the Parti Québécois member of the National Assembly for Matane, recounted an event that allegedly occurred in 2021 during the peak of public health restrictions.

Major cities like Montreal and Quebec City were still in the red zone, and interprovincial travel was to be avoided.

Mr. Bérubé remembered how he and the premier met to discuss politics over a bottle of wine during the afternoon. He also recalled the sight of leftover popcorn in the streets following a protest in Montreal.

In this exchange, Mr. Bérubé says that after spending the afternoon, he mentioned, "I need to go home because you've put a curfew in place."

Amidst laughter from the commentators, Pascal mentions that Mr. Legault asked him, "Do you want me to sign a paper," referring to a document to exempt him from the curfew.

While over 22,000 Quebecers received fines of $1,500 each for allegedly violating the curfew imposed in Quebec for over the four months it was in place, elected officials in the National Assembly were reportedly issuing themselves passes to avoid the regulations imposed on the public.

Eric Duhaime, leader of the Quebec Conservative Party, recently stated that if the facts reported by Mr. Bérubé were true, the Legault government should cancel all these fines and refund the $33 million the province collected.

The question now arises: will the authorities consider this request in light of Mr. Bérubé's comments?

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