PQ calls on Legault to split up government, public health COVID-19 briefings

The opposition Parti Quebecois party on Monday called on the Legault government to split up the province's daily COVID-19 briefings in order to have "a clear line drawn between politics and public health."

In its near-daily COVID-19 briefings over the past couple months, Premier Francois Legault and various ministers - usually Health Minister Danielle McCann - have appeared alongside Horacio Arruda, the province's director of public health.

But the PQ is calling on Legault to hold two separate briefings: one by Quebec government officials and one by public health representatives.

The party also wants public health officials to report publicly on whether their recommendations to the government are being followed.

"It is increasingly difficult to determine to what extent the government is relaying the recommendations of Public Health, and if it agrees with the deconfinement strategy adopted, while the situation continues to deteriorate in Montreal," Pascal Berube, the PQ's parliamentary leader, said in a statement. "So that Quebeckers can get a clear idea, the two entities should no longer share the same forum.

"For us, this distancing would have the advantage of preserving the necessary independence of Public Health," Berube added. "It is more than essential that the government be in harmony with the experts, and that Public Health can say what it wants, when it wants to."

Over the weekend, Arruda's presence at the daily COVID-19 briefings came under fire by some of Montreal's political commentators, who questioned the blurring of the lines between politics and public health at the widely watched press conferences.

Arruda and Legault are scheduled to deliver the province's daily COVID-19 briefing at 1 p.m. Monday.

*THE BRIEFING WILL BE CARRIED LIVE AT CVTNEWSMONTREAL.CA*

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