Despite the capital of sympathy enjoyed by Prime Minister François Legault, there are more and more Quebeckers who are turning a deaf ear to calls for respect for health measures.
This is hardly surprising in a country where, for nearly fifty years, political and legal institutions have emphasized individual rights by minimizing obligations and responsibilities while trivializing collective rights in the exaltation of charters. .
The neoliberals were fine with this fragmentation of society which weakens the citizen and facilitates the enrichment of a minority. As for the politicians, they found their account in electoral patronage, hoping to take power with a minority fraction of the population.
This is why François Legault is today facing an important challenge by appealing to an increasingly fragmented nation!
Break with use
One thing is certain, collective rights must regain their primacy over individual rights. These have been transformed over time into privileges as citizens ignore the duties and obligations attached to them.
Some demand respect for their freedom, others want greater repression. Some accuse the institutions of infringing on their rights, others of letting things go too much.
The Quebec government vacillates between these extremes as the epidemic gains strength and the number of cases explodes exponentially.
Autocratic countries have taken draconian measures which appear to have had great effectiveness. The Chinese government has even used drones to pursue offenders and force them back to their homes.
I do not believe that we are ready to sacrifice our freedoms to the point of imposing quarantine by locking the recalcitrant in a stadium or a cozy prison in the name of public safety. The way of raising awareness still seems to me the most promising. The words of the Caquista Prime Minister will not be enough, however.
Instead of relaunching the partisan game with more acrimony in the parliamentary precinct, the parties would do well to explore a form of governance of national unity. Thus, they would amplify the reminder of the obligations and responsibilities incumbent on each citizen to preserve the health of all.
A prime minister surrounded by opposition leaders in his press briefings would reflect the unity of political forces in containing the pandemic.
Beware of prophecies
In these times of upheaval, omens of all kinds multiply, suggesting a better world or a perpetual hell when the health crisis is resolved.
At this point, it is better to be wary of pessimistic or optimistic predictions and rather to mobilize to ensure the safety of people by circumscribing the future consequences as well as possible.
Past epidemics and world wars have shown tremendous rebound and adaptation capacities. Why would it be any different after COVID-19?
However, we can start to do otherwise now!