Quebec seniors minister ill, won't appear at inquest into COVID long-term care deaths

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MONTREAL — Quebec's seniors minister will not appear before a coroner's inquest investigating deaths in the long-term care system during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marguerite Blais is on medical leave and will be replaced at the hearings on Nov. 17 by Danielle McCann, the province's former health minister who is serving as minister of higher education.

The Canadian Press reported on Friday that Blais's appearance was the subject of discussions between attorneys for the coroner's office and the attorney general.

Blais has been on sick leave since Oct. 29 due to burnout and her responsibilities have been taken over temporarily by Health Minister Christian Dubé.

Opposition parties have said her testimony is essential for the families of those who lost loved ones in the province's long-term care network during the first wave of COVID-19.

Coroner Géhane Kamel agreed today to cancel Blais's scheduled appearance.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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