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Accueil > Actualités et salle de presse > Conférences et points de presse > Point de presse de M. Christopher Skeete, adjoint parlementaire du premier ministre pour les relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise

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Point de presse de M. Christopher Skeete, adjoint parlementaire du premier ministre pour les relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise

Version finale

Le jeudi 20 août 2020, 10 h 50

Hall principal de l'hôtel du Parlement, hôtel du Parlement

(Dix heures cinquante-trois minutes)

M. Authier (Philip) : …and you have influence. Do you think… providing English material? I heard a story from a reader that the initial documents that went out in English had the initial advice about masks and they weren't revised. The document was hanging around. People were seeing the old document, and it wasn't revised to say that now masks are required on transit and… you know what I mean, because they shifted the policies, but the paper document did not reflect that. Is there any way you can deal with that in the Government, in the civil service?

M. Skeete : So, just to be… are you asking about the initial send-out or are you talking about discrepancy of information?

M. Authier (Philip) : I'm asking that the… I'm saying that the initial send-out was kind of slow, as has been mentioned, and then it wasn't revised. Do you think this could be corrected?

M. Skeete : OK, so a two-part question.

On the first part, just so that we're clear, the initial documentation was made available to the English community online. So that was released at the same time. Also, you can always order it and receive it on a per-ask basis, and that was always available. The Government would ship it to you for free. A lot of MNAs and a lot of citizens and active community groups actually ordered a whole bunch to distribute within the community. There was the added consideration that some people just weren't getting it. It was at that moment that we did the second send out. So it was as available from the beginning.

On the second part, of course, things are moving fast in a pandemic. We're trying to, all the time, make sure that all the information is up to date. And, yes, you know, we follow up, I follow up. I make sure that things are running smoothly. And, when there's a place for us for some improvement, I make sure that we make those improvements. But, you know, everything is always a little bit in flux in a pandemic. And sometimes some French documentation isn't made available also. So we're trying our best to make sure that we stay agile and nimble in this period.

Mme Senay (Cathy) : Did you receive phone calls from constituents, citizens saying : We need to get the info in English?

M. Skeete : I don't know that I received phone calls. Possibly. I did hear… I'm not oblivious. I got some Twitters. I saw that there was a concern. And then what I did do, I think, if you look back in my history on Twitter, you'll see that I actually directed people to the site where they can download the document. So the people who didn't have access… My understanding was that, if you're elderly, if you're not really technological, if you don't have an iPad, if you're somewhere where there isn't Internet, there was a consideration that you had difficulty accessing the document. Everybody else had access to the document online, waiting a couple of days to get it delivered or going to a community group in your area to get it. So the only people that really didn't have access are those people who really are within the margins, and we corrected that going forward.

Mme Senay (Cathy) : I go back to your answer. You did see comments of people that were concerned?

M. Skeete : Yes, that's why we acted. People said : Hey! you know what, this document is lacking, my grandmother in Gaspé doesn't have Internet, doesn't have an iPad. I said : OK, great, let's fix the problem.

Mme Senay (Cathy) : And how did you react when you heard Premier Legault on March 20th, when he started speaking in English after a week of giving press conferences?

M. Skeete : I was thrilled that the information was being made available to everybody.

Mme Senay (Cathy) : Why was it crucial for you?

M. Skeete : Because I'm thrilled that everybody gets the information that they need in a pandemic.

Mme Fletcher (Raquel) : What did the Premier mean when he said that it would depend on the magnitude of the second wave? Mr. Kelley asked him about making sure that communications going forward would be in both French and English, and the Premier said : Well, that will depend. What did he mean by that?

M. Skeete : You'd have to ask him.

Mme Fletcher (Raquel) : What is your interpretation on what he meant? That it'll depend on…

M. Skeete : I mean, I was there with you, I heard what you heard. My understanding is we're going to make the documents available, but you'd have to ask him what he meant.

Mme Fletcher (Raquel) : Should the Premier have singled out Mr. Derfel in his comments? Do you think that was a trumpian thing for him to do?

M. Skeete : My takeaway from his comment was that he wants the reporting to be accurate and he wants everybody to know that we're working hard to get all the information, get everybody the help they need, the information they need when they need it. That's my takeaway.

Mme Senay (Cathy) : Do you watch CNN?

M. Skeete : I do. I'm more of a MSNBC kind of guy, though, yes.

Mme Senay (Cathy) : So did you get nervous during the pandemic watching CNN?

M. Skeete : I definitely agree that the English community watches a lot of american media. And I do believe that there is some of that, of what Mr. Legault said. I also believe there are some historical institutional trust issues within the English community. I think, in Québec, the access that the English community has to the Québec apparatus… I think that the English community is more disconnected and I think there's probably some trust there… which is one of the reasons why the «secrétariat» exists, to rebuild those bridges.

Mme Fletcher (Raquel) : So it's not just Mr. Derfel's fault?

M. Skeete : My takeaway is everybody's got to get the right and accurate information.

Mme Senay (Cathy) : When Mr. Legault says : Well, I went beyond the laws and I spoke in English during the press conferences, I guess it was exceptional. These were exceptional times. So you have to be an official francophone province, but, in a time of crisis, the fact of the matter is you have to get the information and reach out to a maximum of people as possible, don't you think?

M. Skeete : I was thrilled that the information was distributed to everybody, yes.

Mme Senay (Cathy) : And they were a week delayed, a week, with the most important press conferences, from March 12th to March 20th.

M. Skeete : So I suppose the premise of your questions would imply that people had no information for a week. My understanding is you guys do a great job and that the information was made available. But what's more important is that the information, therefore, afterwards, became available. And my takeaway is, speaking of the lovely Gazette, when Don Macpherson applauded the Government for being so non-linguistic on such a critical issue, and I think… again, my takeaway is: if Don Macpherson says we're doing a great job, I think we're on the right track.

Mme Senay (Cathy) : Good. Thank you.

M. Skeete : Alright. I'm happy to see you guys again.

(Fin à 11 heures)


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