CAQ MNA Youri Chassin explains trip to Peru during pandemic

·2 min read

Another Quebec politician is raising eyebrows with a trip abroad, despite the government urging everyone to stay home over the holidays.

Coalition Avenir Québec MNA Youri Chassin says he left for Peru, despite the pandemic, to be with his spouse who lives there and whom he hadn't seen for nearly a year. "This is not a vacation trip," he said in an interview with Radio-Canada this morning.

Another MNA, Liberal Pierre Arcand, was spotted in Barbados and yesterday said he regretted his decision to travel.

Chassin, the MNA for Saint-Jérôme, says he was granted permission to travel by the office of Premier François Legault in the week of Nov. 30.

On Dec. 22, the premier and representatives of all the opposition parties held a joint news conference to beg Quebecers to obey all public health rules and to stay home for the holidays.

Chassin says he's aware of how things look, but he pleads exceptional circumstances.

"We have a duty to set an example as a member of the legislature, but I am in a somewhat special situation," he said. "In other circumstances, I would not have come to Peru, but this is a special case."

Chassin said he's been involved since March 2019 in a sponsorship process to have his spouse immigrate to Quebec. Immigration processes have reportedly slowed due the pandemic. COVID-19 also prevented him from travelling last summer to visit his husband.

He adds that it would have been difficult for his Peruvian husband to come and join him in Quebec during the holiday season since he would have required a visa, which isn't the case for Canadians travelling to Peru.

Chassin said he's following public health measures during his stay in Peru by limiting his social contacts as much as possible and respecting the concept of a family bubble.

He said he would comply with the mandatory quarantine when he returns, adding that he prepared frozen meals before leaving in anticipation of his quarantine.

The Coalition Avenir Québec has banned its elected officials from travelling outside of Quebec during the holiday season. According to the party, Chassin is the only MNA to have received permission to travel.