(Quebec) The author of the deadly attack that occurred Monday in Amqui would have already been “identified” as being at risk, suggested François Legault, who asks people “to intervene” when they see that “someone in his surroundings […] shows worrying signs.
“I don’t want to come… go in that case, but it seems that this person there was perhaps already identified. So is there anything you can do when you know there’s someone at risk? To act more quickly, to not be embarrassed to do it for the common good? “, said the Prime Minister Tuesday in a press briefing at the National Assembly.
I think we have a collective responsibility, first of all, to identify the people who are at risk and to act so that these people receive services. And so, yes, we can’t…the government can’t be in every environment identifying every person who may have negative ideas.
François Legault, Premier of Quebec
Mr. Legault announced that he would go to Amqui on Thursday to meet the population of this city shaken by a car-ramming attack which left two dead and several injured, some of whom are still in critical condition. He also invites the leaders of the opposition parties to accompany him during this day.
He also announced that the Quebec flag would be lowered to half-mast tomorrow on the central tower of the National Assembly in memory of the victims of “the tragedy of Amqui”.
Mr. Legault believes that it will be necessary to have a collective reflection following this tragedy, which comes a few weeks after a ram-bus attack against a daycare center in Laval. ” We must act. And then, when you see someone around you who shows worrying signs, well, you have to find a way to intervene, ”he said.
In return, the Government of Quebec has a duty to ensure “that the services are easily accessible” and that advertising is done “so that people do not hesitate to consult or denounce”.
“We see that this kind of event happens more and more often in the world. It’s not unique to us. You have to analyze the situation well. […] In the short term, you have to comfort people first, but you have to have a reflection and then be careful about the conclusions as well,” he said.
According to the police, the gesture would be premeditated and the victims were chosen at random. “They were pedestrians walking on the edge of the 132 on both sides of the road, for a certain distance,” said Sergeant Claude Doiron, spokesman for the SQ.
Public Security Minister François Bonnardel Bonnardel drew a parallel between Monday’s attack and “the ram bus in Laval that killed children.” “We will have to do an exercise afterwards to try to understand, and to try to reassure the population. I’m still worried about two cases like this [lundi] and Laval,” he said. He had raised in the morning the idea of suspending the driving licenses of certain people who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, but later backed down, saying it was not part of the government’s plans.
He also questioned whether the pandemic has “exacerbated” mental health cases. ” I think so. I don’t want to say it’s the fault of the pandemic, but it looks like it has exacerbated several cases,” he said.
The minister responsible for social services, Lionel Carmant, did not want to say if the accused Steeve Gagnon was waiting for mental health services or if he was being followed by specialists. The day after the Laval tragedy last month, he hastened to reveal that the bus driver who hit a daycare center was not waiting for services and that there was nothing to suggest that Pierre Ny St-Amand had used it in the past. The Minister had subsequently come under fire from experts for having, according to them, violated the Health and Social Services Act by making such revelations.
“I am really waiting for the results of the investigation this time […]. I don’t have all the details, ”said Lionel Carmant on Tuesday. If he had publicly commented on the Pierre Ny St-Amand file, it was because “there was speculation” then.
The shaken political class
Health Minister Christian Dubé recalled for his part that “requests for help and psychological distress have increased” since the start of the pandemic. “You have to make people aware of the importance of raising your hand. When we know someone with a mental health problem, when we live with a mental health problem, we really want people to raise their hands as quickly as possible, ”he added.
The opposition parties still believe that the attack that took place in Amqui forces a debate in society. “We have to look at hate, the growing place of hate in our society,” lamented PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon. “Twice has such gratuitous violence cost lives. We are ready to look into all the options, but we also have to do it with rigor, that is to say that we cannot just launch solutions without having studied exactly what it is all about”, he said in a press briefing.
The interim leader of the Liberal Party, Marc Tanguay, also wants a “collective reflection”. “What happened in Amqui is shocking, it upsets a tight-knit community, a peaceful community. This necessarily brings up a lot of questions. What could we collectively do to ensure that such tragedies do not occur? We remember what happened more recently in Laval, and now there is Amqui, ”he lamented.
He believes in finding solutions to prevent people from “escaping”, to act before they do something irreparable. “Getting there, when the person, we collectively escaped her, and she is in her vehicle and decides to do what we saw that was very upsetting [lundi], made there, I would tell you that it is almost too late. So, we have to work upstream. And then, again, it’s a delicate matter. We talk about mental health, but I think we need to have a conversation about it,” he said.
Is there a link to be made between this kind of gesture and the pandemic which has severely affected the mental health of many Quebecers? The parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire, Alexandre Leduc, believes for his part that “we have to ask ourselves these kinds of questions”. “We have to deal with this issue head-on. The people of Quebec expect us to do more for mental health,” he said.
With Fanny Lévesque and Tommy Chouinard