Quebec Premier refuses to allow curfew exemption for the homeless people. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and proponents call Quebec Premier François Legault to provide curfew exemption for the homeless. However, the Premier refuses to do so in fear it could drive people to lie they have no shelter.
He stated he expects police to use reason and judgment when they have to issue fines. “You cannot give tickets to somebody who says they are homeless, you may have some people that will pretend to be homeless” – said Legault.
The death of a homeless man Raphaël André fueled the debate over the topic. His body was discovered on Sunday morning in the Plateau neighborhood. He couldn’t stay at the shelter since the staff had to close it by 21:30. André had spent Saturday evening in a Montreal drop-in center.
How Curfew Affects Homeless
Native Women’s shelter of Montreal coordinator Jessica Quijano responded to Legault’s claims regarding police. She stated that the Premier is out of touch with reality when describing the situation of the homeless. The curfew has made the lives of the homeless much worse as the city and the province have been unable to provide them with the necessary resources. She believes André’s death to exemplify the failure. Quijano claims that the lack of action makes people think their lives do not matter.
Mayor Valérie Plante stated that the curfew has negatively impacted the homeless shelters that were already struggling to begin with. She said she wants people to feel safe and does not wish to exacerbate their vulnerability.
Plante claims the city has been offering to help out the shelter by adding extra walls and bigger cleaning crews. The Open Door worker John Tessier claims Plante’s claims are ungrounded. They have already added barriers to the shelter for better separation, added security staff; however, they have not received a response from the officials yet. Although The Open Door has invited public health representatives to visit the place multiple times, they have not answered their calls and emails.
In response, the regional health authority said they will continue to work with the center so they can operate at night as well. Plante said that although they have added hundreds of beds to shelters already, there is still more to be done in the future.