Sooner or later, the policy will be reset to its habits

Tôt ou tard, la politique retrouvera ses habitudes

April 18, 2020 4: 00

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Sooner or later, the policy will be reset to its habits

Tôt ou tard, la politique retrouvera ses habitudes

Olivier Bossé

The Sun

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After the”year of transparency” daily which book the trio for almost 40 days, it is impossible to go back to the old way of doing politics? Nothing will be the same, is repeated. But maybe if in the background.

“I don’t know if it’s going to change a lot of things,” doubt professor and director of the Department of political science, Université Laval, Thierry Giasson.

Every day since the 12 march, the prime minister of Quebec, the national director of public health and the minister of Health to give a press conference. The mass of 13h of Quebec confined.

“Transparency is present, but it is difficult to determine at what point. In a crisis situation, we can’t say. There is an exercise of speech all day, but up to what point it really reveals something to the population?”

Specialist in political communication, Mr. Giasson wonders “up to what point it opens its game, we explicit all the issues, consequences and benefits in these points to the press?”

The quotation marks surrounding the above the expression “year of transparency” come from him. But the three experts consulted by The Sun are formal : being transparent does not mean to say everything and show everything.

Pay attention to the blur

“The crisis is still ongoing, and therefore the direction that all this will take is still subject to change,” said Josianne Millette, a professor in the Department of information and communication of the UL.

Ms. Millette believes that a study may not be made with accuracy only after the crisis. By dividing it into three “chapters”, that is, the shutter time, where we are currently, and the end.

“The situation in NURSING homes, in particular, it is only a posteriori that we will be able to judge the choices that have been made”, does it example, new pieces of the puzzle being revealed every day.

Ms. Millette speaks knowingly. Last week, his grand-mother died in a CHSLD, probably as a result of the COVID-19. “Let’s say that I start paying attention to the blur. Internal communication in some networks-seems to pose a problem”, only she noticed.

Also a teacher in the UL, a political scientist and former political advisor, Éric Montigny insists that any crisis is “an amplifier of trends that already exist”, “a revealer of character” and an “accelerator of reforms” already undertaken by the government.

The health network will be the first to be affected, the judiciary, too.

M. Montigny is anticipated that the crisis of the sars coronavirus will force the quebec government to publish more open data online, in real time, as with the number of cases and deaths of the COVID-19. In addition to the charts and graphs provided by the national Institute of public health of Quebec on the evolution of the disease.

More than five jackets

Eventually, we will see what the authorities have chosen to tell and, most importantly, not say.

Ms. Millette gave the example of the 1998 ice storm, the crisis management strategy of the government then led by Lucien Bouchard inspires clear that the government Legault.

“During the ice storm, we had decided not to speak of the decline of the reserves of drinking water. We had calculated the risk of creating panic and determined that it was going to be able to restore the current time. A choice that proved to be a good idea, but it became known only after those issues were raised. ”


Josianne Millette, a professor in the Department of information and communication of the UL

“It can be assumed that it is the same thing, this time, continuing the specialist in public relations. There are certainly scenarios, contingencies that are discussed. But it is normal that it is not several million to decide together.”

More than the fundamental guidelines, the shares of communications preferred during the ice storm have been imitated, 22 years later, down to the smallest detail.

“One thing that comes up in the imaginary, it is the president and ceo of Hydro-Québec, André Caillé with his turtleneck! To show that he was on the field, and that there was really an emergency. Don’t think it is a coincidence that on Saturday, Dr. Arruda and Mr. Legault are sweater. This is not because it is Saturday and they have just five jackets! There is a choice in there”, argued Ms. Millette.

The tragedy of Lac-Mégantic in July 2013, and of L’isle-Verte in January 2014, are also references on what to do and what not to do in crisis management.

As in campaign

Still, the goals of communications policy remain the same as before, according to Thierry Giasson. To inform and persuade.

“We try to persuade people to adopt health behaviours that will limit the spread of a virus. During the election campaign, we invite the voters to change their opinions in order to adhere to a political project. This is the same approach!” he says.

Sooner or later, “we’ll get back to some normality. We are going to have to vote in elections, to hear or to incur electoral campaigns”, says Mr. Giasson.

When the joust parliamentary will resume, “the government will not be the only one to intervene in the public space”, he says. The opposition parties will need to “find the right tone, a way to challenge the government, to ask questions without seeming to undermine the collective action. There will be speech less acrimonious. At this time, the people need to feel that solidarity in the political class, too.”

At least, in the beginning. But it won’t last. “In a few months or a year, if things return to normal, we réadaptera to a communication more confrontational policy, in Quebec and in Ottawa. Because there will be a new election!” predicted Mr. Giasson.

Le Soleil

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