I join Mayor Valerie Plante and other leaders in asking Premier Legault to revise how the current curfew is imposed on the homeless population. Like many Quebecers, I understand that difficult decisions must be made to ensure that we limit the spread of COVID-19. Since March of 2020, cities across the province have diligently implemented restrictions, not without significant impacts, in order to limit the spread of this virus in order to protect our communities and our healthcare system. But we must show compassion for the most vulnerable among us.
The directive that the police use their judgement on a case-by-case basis is just not enough. I ask that Premier Legault demonstrate leadership by instructing police forces across the province to support the homeless population by refraining from issuing fines in relation to curfew. I would also invite provincial leaders to visit Cabot Square. There they will find a community that has been devastated by the impact of COVID-19. Ticketing the homeless for breaking curfew is not realistic. It is cruel. Emphasis should be on providing them with long-term access to shelters.
COVID-19 has been a constant reminder that the health of our citizens, and indeed of the most vulnerable, is our collective responsibility. As leaders, we need to have the courage to admit when the measures put in place no longer make sense. This is one of those measures that requires a change in course. I sincerely hope the Premier and the Quebec government will show leadership and reverse their directive regarding the imposition of a curfew on the homeless population.
Christina M. Smith
Mayor of the City of Westmount