• Stuart Benson

Conservative challenger on Amos: ‘Bad time to play petty politics’

The next federal Conservative party candidate for Pontiac is accusing the region’s current member of Parliament Will Amos of playing ‘petty politics and lecturing the Quebec government’ over its decision to delay the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by up to 90 days.

The next federal Conservative party candidate for Pontiac Michel Gauthier came out swinging against current Pontiac MP Will Amos. Photo courtesy Michel Gauthier

“Quebec's vaccination strategy against COVID-19 was necessitated by the federal government's inability to provide sufficient doses to the provinces in a timely manner,” Michel Gauthier wrote in a press release on Jan. 24. “This is the reality that Liberal MP Will Amos tried to hide behind a smokescreen in his recent outing against the Quebec government.”

Gauthier’s comments were in response to the public criticisms Amos made on Jan. 13, calling the provincial government’s plan to delay the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine an “experiment” and inconsistent with the latest recommendations made public [Jan. 12] by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Gauthier told The Low Down he believes that, in the middle of a pandemic, the federal and provincial governments should be looking for ways to help each other rather than looking for problems. However Gauthier said he isn’t afraid to point fingers back at the federal government now that Amos has opened the door.

“If there is a problem with the vaccine in Quebec, it is because it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide vaccines to the provinces,” Gauthier said. “If Quebec is unable to do as many vaccines as possible right now, it is because they don't have enough vaccines.”

Gauthier also defended the provincial government’s decision to delay the second dose of the vaccine so as to provide coverage to a larger part of the province's high-risk populations as quickly as possible, as recommended by the Quebec Immunization Committee.

“This choice has made it possible to vaccinate more residents in CHSLDs and seniors' residences and also more employees in the health network, who face the threat of this virus on a daily basis,” Gauthier wrote. “By mid-January, close to 3,500 employees and nearly 1,000 CHSLD residents had been vaccinated throughout the Outaouais.”

Gauthier, a resident of Maniwaki and current president of the Maison de la Culture de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau confirmed to The Low Down that he has been in discussion with the federal Conservative party in order to finalize his status as the Conservative candidate for the riding of Pontiac. Gauthier told The Low Down that residents can expect a joint announcement as early as the first week of February.

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