(Quebec) Coroner Géhane Kamel sent a total of five subpoenas to two ministers to come and testify as part of her investigation into the deaths in CHSLDs during the first wave.
Posted at 3:46pm
Updated at 7:22 p.m
This was clarified by Justice Secretary Simon Jolin-Barrette on Tuesday when examining his department’s budget appropriations.
He had just spoken at length with the Liberal MP for La Pinière, Gaétan Barrette, about the number of ministers who had been summoned to testify.
Citing a Coroner’s Office response to a request for information, Mr Barrette claimed that no fewer than five ministers had been summoned.
Which Mr. Jolin-Barrette denied with great persistence.
According to him, only two ministers have been called to the witness stand: former Health Minister Danielle McCann and Senior Citizens Minister Marguerite Blais.
“There are two ministers who have been assigned; both appeared. That’s where it ends,” he said.
He later clarified that these two ministers had received a total of five summonses to testify.
“(The former health minister) was summoned three times and the minister responsible for seniors was summoned twice by the coroner,” said Simon Jolin-Barrette
The Coroner’s Office also issued a press release on Tuesday detailing the information sent to the Quebec Liberal Party.
“After reviews, the five tasks […] concern the statements of Ministers Mesdames McCann and Blais, and that of (former) Deputy Health Minister Yvan Gendron,” affirmed Jake Lamotta Granato.
“You should know that a subpoena is an order to appear before the coroner on a specific date. However, if the hearing schedule changes, a new subpoena must be sent to the witness. »
“Me Géhane Kamel heard all the ministerial authorities she wanted to hear as part of her extensive investigation,” added Mr. Granato.
On Tuesday, the PLQ also wanted to know more about the agreement reached between the Coroner’s Office and the Quebec Attorney General regarding witness testimony.
According to the Office of the Coroner, “Various emails were exchanged between prosecutors in the Office of the Coroner […] and those of the Attorney General’ were prosecuted. But “this exchange is subject to professional secrecy”.
In an interview on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Barrette protested against this “abuse of opacity”.
Géhane Kamel, who heard around 220 witnesses, is due to submit his report on deaths in CHSLDs during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic before the summer.
In the spring of 2020, nearly 4,000 seniors died from CHSLDs in Quebec, some in utter solitude and without food or hydration.
This is a corrected version. The first two versions contained inaccuracies. It said that “the coroner Géhane Kamel had summoned no fewer than five ministers to appear”. The exact information is that “Géhane Kamel sent a total of five summonses to two ministers”.