Coronavirus prompts Quebec to put off premiers’ meeting

Quebec is postponing the Council of the Federation meeting it was set to host this summer because of COVID-19.

The summer premiers’ gathering was set to take place from July 22 to July 24 at the Château Frontenac, but will now be put off until the fall.

Quebec is the epicentre of COVID-19 in the country with more than 4,000 deaths — more than half of the deaths registered in Canada.

The meeting was to be the first hosted by the province since 2008.

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Premier François Legault said in a statement the decision to postpone was made after careful consideration and taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legault said the crisis has strengthened the resolve of premiers to continue collaborating.

“As we work towards economic recovery, I look forward to hosting my provincial and territorial counterparts in the fall to continue our successful co-operation,” Legault said.

Last year in Saskatoon, Legault praised the “essential” nature of the Council of the Federation’s summer meeting.

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Since its creation in 2003, the Council has met approximately twice a year to discuss issues of pan-Canadian significance, whether in the areas of economics, health, the environment or immigration.

The health crisis this year is shaking up the agenda of the premiers, who must now deal with entirely new issues.

A new date for the meeting is expected in the coming weeks, depending on recommendations by Quebec’s public health department.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press

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