CAQ pushes for virtual question period, but opposition say government lacks accountability
MONTREAL -- As the National Assembly prepares for a new session to begin next week, the Coalition Avenir Quebec government is facing accusations of having too much control, and not enough accountability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Are we really in a democracy when the government has the full stage all the time? When the government has what resembles a monopoly on the message?” said Parti Quebecois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.
During session last spring and fall, MNAs still held debates in-person, though the number of MNAs allowed in the Blue Room at a time was limited due to social distancing. Now, the CAQ is calling for question period to be held online, raising questions on how accountable and accessible the government will be.
“I'm really willing to make compromises. It's a pandemic, it's a crisis, but we need to aim at is as much democracy as we can,” said Plamondon. “Right now, we are not within a normal democracy.”
The various parties are currently negotiating a solution.
Liberal leader Dominique Anglade said discussions centre around deciding “what is feasible virtually versus what is feasible physically. But I believe that it is going to be extremely hard to hold a question period virtually.”
The federal government held question period online in April, but it was marred by numerous technical glitches.
Anglade said her concerns go beyond bad sound and video problems, saying Quebecers deserve MNAs that “are in an environment where they are held accountable for the decisions that they make and the conversation around opening the National Assembly next week is critical because of that.”
Premier Francois Legault is expected to hold at least two press conferences this week, but declined to comment on Monday.