Trudeau's comments worrying about Montreal 'create confusion:' Bloc leader

The leader of the Bloc Quebecois accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of federal interference over concerns raised about Quebec's deconfinement plans.

Trudeau said on Saturday he was “very worried” for Montrealers, as well as Canadians across the country, saying health and safety must take precedence over economic recovery.

Federal Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller, who represents a downtown Montreal riding, also expressed concern over the situation in Montreal, saying “An early deconfinement could endanger people's lives.”

But Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said raising such doubts in a public way “creates confusion,” in addition to minimizing the skills and expertise of Quebecers.

Blanchet said the provincial government is “on the front line” of managing the COVID-19 crisis.

“It's Quebec which takes all the risks and responsibilities and in comes Ottawa which, under the pretext that it sought a $300 billion line of credit, wants to tell everyone what they should do,” he said.

The Bloc leader said the initial response of the Trudeau government was rightly limited to broader programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

“It started out quite correctly in my opinion, then, quietly and not quickly, there was a certain arrogance which began to manifest itself on the federal side,” said Blanchet.

More than half of Canada's COVID-19 cases are in Quebec, but businesses have been allowed to reopen outside Montreal. Primarcy schools and daycare centres are set to follow suit on Monday.

Deconfinement in Montreal has been twice postponed as the number of cases continue to climb. Reopening of businesses and schools is currently scheduled for May 25.

Blanchet refused to criticze the deconfinement plans put forward by Quebec Premier Francois Legault.

“When Quebec experts raise concerns, the Quebec government will take note,” he said.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2020.

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