Serious risks to the “Dehors la CAQ” convoy this weekend

Serious risks to the convoy

UPDATE DAY

The imposing convoy of demonstrators expected on Saturday in L'Assomption prompts the authorities to advise residents not to go out and businesses to close their doors, while strong police contingents will be deployed. 

“A demonstration of this magnitude and with this risk, we've never had that here,” says Sébastien Nadeau, mayor of L'Assomption. 

The Journalmet him in his town of 20,000 inhabitants, in Lanaudière, which will drastically change its portrait this weekend. Convoys of demonstrators from all over Quebec will go to L'Assomption, where François Legault's constituency office is located, to denounce the CAQ party in particular. 

François Legault's office in L'Assomption where the demonstrators will meet.

“No truck or vehicle will be able to enter our city center. They will all be outside. However, our security services will be there to let an ambulance pass, for example, and we always have plans B if things go wrong, ”explains the mayor, who wants to avoid a siege in his city. 

The mayor of L'Assomption, Sébastien Nadeau, invites the population to stay at home as much as possible.

But is Mr. Nadeau worried to see thousands of demonstrators arriving at his home on Saturday? “I don't want to scare people, on the contrary. Let’s say we would do without it, ”he drops, however.

Serious risks to the convoy

Serious risks to the convoy

Serious risks to the «Outside the CAQ

  • MARTIN ALARIE/JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Serious risks to the convoy

  • MARTIN ALARIE/JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Serious risks to the «Outside the CAQ

  • MARTIN ALARIE/JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Serious risks to the convoy

  • MARTIN ALARIE/JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Serious risks to the «Outside the CAQ

  • MARTIN ALARIE/JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Serious risks to the «Outside the CAQ

  • MARTIN ALARIE/JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Serious risks to the convoy

  • MARTIN ALARIE/JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Serious risks in convoy

  • MARTIN ALARIE/JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Stay home

Several residents of the city center admitted to our representative that they had already made reservations to be sure not to leave their homes during the demonstration, as recommended by the local authorities. 

Traders and the convoy a come Pictured main street in old L'Assomption L'Assomption, Quebec, Canada. Thursday, September 29, 2022 PHOTO: MARTIN ALARIE/JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

“It’s a very quiet town and nothing ever happens here. I just wouldn't want to see a long demonstration of several weeks like there was this winter in Ottawa. In any case, if I have to stay at home, my fridge is full”, says Marly Bah, met on the boulevard de l'Ange-Gardien. 

Marly Bah, met on the boulevard de l'Ange-Gardien, is worried to see a seat like in Ottawa in his city.

It is on this street that the “Dehors la CAQ” convoy plans to organize a march. All merchants in this sector have been visited by police to advise them to close their doors, to remain cautious or to warn their customers of the event. 

Big loss of money

“Customers cancel their reservation because of the convoy. A group of 20 people called us to say they wouldn't come after all. These are still big financial losses for us after the pandemic and inflation. […] The police also called us to say that pretty much all the restaurants were closing, but there was no way I was closing,” says Matthieu Bonneau, from Bistro Le Coup Monté. 

Matthieu Bonneau, owner of Le coup Monté restaurant in L’Assomption.

He also launched a heartfelt cry in a video on social networks where he denounces the financial losses suffered by the merchants of L'Assomption, because of the convoy. Mr. Bonneau finally invites the demonstrators to remain respectful of their city.

Christelle Bernier, of the Spa Santé Corps et Âme, anticipates the worst since François Legault's office is above his premises.&nbsp ;

Christelle Bernier, of the Spa Santé Corps et Âme, denounces that she must close her w because of the risk caused by the demonstrators. Note that the office of François Legault is above his.

“We will have no choice but to close because we risk being surrounded by demonstrators who are blocking the entrances. It's a shame because the weekends are our busiest days and it's a major financial loss, ”laments Ms. Bernier. 

Mélany Rousseau, from Café St-Gabriel, admits that she remained open during the event, which she sees as a “business opportunity”. 

Mélanie Rousseau will keep her café open during the event since she sees it as a “business opportunity”.

“I don't think it's going to cause trouble. A lot of customers are scared here and they tell me that I live in a world of unicorns, but I keep hoping that it will go well, ”says Ms. Rousseau, one of the few traders to remain open on Saturday. 

Reinforcement police

Agent Sophie Légaré, of the L'Assomption Police Department, confirms that the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) and other police forces will be able to lend a hand to their teams this weekend. 

“People are worried to see a convoy like in Ottawa, but that is not what is expected. Also, no vehicle will enter the city center, ”guarantees Ms. Légaré.

The route of the demonstrators' march has indeed been transmitted to the police officers of L'Assomption over the past few days.

She adds that Saturday's demonstration will end at no later than 5 p.m. According to our information, several concrete blocks will be installed around downtown L'Assomption to prevent vehicles from circulating there. 

“There will be a planned march on Boulevard l’Ange-Gardien. We are planning a stop for a flower laying in front of the CHSLD in L'Assomption. The walk then continues towards the office of François Legault and ends at the secondary school. […] Afterwards, people are asked to leave”, summarizes Sophie Légaré.

What do they want?

The Service of L'Assomption/Saint-Sulpice police are planning that at least 2,000 people will take part in the “Dehors la CAQ” convoy. 

“This is an event that pays tribute to the victims of CHSLDs, but also to the children of the DPJ. We have a collective duty and a duty of memory, it is extremely important”, explains vaguely in a video published on Facebook Mylène Hébert, who organizes the convoy.

Note that the Journal tried to understand in detail the demands of the protesters. However, the four administrators of the event's Facebook page refused or ignored our interview requests. 

The four administrators of the Facebook group promoting the “Dehors la CAQ” (from left to right): Jonathan Mongrain, Mylène Hébert, Hélène Chartier and Véronique Roussin.

For his part, the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec (DGEQ) did not want to comment on “hypothetical situations” in the event that the demonstrators prevent citizens from voting on Monday.&nbsp ;

“In general, however, I can tell you that, as in every election, we have established links with the Sûreté du Québec. The police have the list of polling places and are ready to intervene quickly if necessary,” it says.