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Quebec MNA out of CAQ caucus after flouting coronavirus rules

'Last night I made a mistake,' Denis Tardif said in a statement. 'I sincerely regret it and that is why I made the decision to withdraw from the CAQ caucus.'

Denis Tardif is out of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) caucus for flouting physical distancing rules in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Quebec MNA for Rivière-du-Loup–Témiscouata issued an apology Thursday after a video of him hugging and touching other people at an outing surfaced in a media report from TVA.

In a statement, Tardif was said to have “reviewed the footage” and admitted to having a “non-exemplary attitude.”

“Last night I made a mistake,” Tardif said in a statement. “I sincerely regret it and that is why I made the decision to withdraw from the CAQ caucus.

“I should have led by example, limited my contacts and respected known distancing rules, as recommended by the government and public health.”

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Éric Lefebvre, the government whip, also said in a statement that the situation is being taken “very seriously.”

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“Our health-care system is under extreme pressure and lives are at stake,” he said.

Tardif’s exit from caucus comes as Quebec reached a new high for hospitalizations linked to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday.

The province has been one of the hotspots for the virus, with the second wave of the health crisis gaining steam in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, Premier François Legault announced new lockdown measures to bring down the rising number of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations.

More regions — including the Bas-Saint-Laurent, where Tardif’s riding is located — are being put on red alert, which means stricter rules for private gatherings and the forced shutdown of bars, dining rooms and other establishments.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Quebecers face new lockdown' 2:22Coronavirus: Quebecers face new lockdown
Coronavirus: Quebecers face new lockdown

—With files from The Canadian Press

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