Provincial police officers have been deployed to the Gaspé region to help local authorities deal with rowdy vacationers in the region, Quebec Public Safety Minister Geneviève Guilbault said Monday at a conference of hurry.
Guilbault said she was happy that so many Quebecers took the opportunity to visit their own province during the two-week construction holiday, but she said she was disappointed to see a “minority of tourists who seem to have forgotten what is respect and politeness”.
“I ask everyone to be respectful and to do their civic duty, declared Ms. Guilbault, “so that all Quebecers can have fun,” she said.
The region, usually busy at this time of year, is busier than usual since the Canada-US border is closed and many Quebecers are going on vacation closer to home.
Visitors showed up without reservations and many set up tents on public beaches, local officials said.
Earlier this month, authorities pleaded with campers and other visitors to stop dumping sewage tanks and RV waste on beaches when they left their makeshift campsites.
“When I see these images, I find it shocking, even heartbreaking,” Guilbault said.
Call for help
Earlier Monday, Gaspé MP Méganne Perry Mélançon called on the government to send police and money to regional bodies trying to deal with the situation. She even called Guilbault herself to come see what’s going on.
Guilbault said she wasn’t ruling out the possibility of visiting the area.
The public security minister, who is also deputy prime minister, said that although local officials have taken action, an increased police presence could have a deterrent effect.
“Sometimes having a policeman walking around prevents people from engaging in nasty behavior,” she said.
Mélançon said local municipalities don’t have the resources to patrol the area and make sure people don’t drive over fragile areas like sand dunes or dump litter.
Guilbault said she was in discussions with Gaspé Mayor Daniel Côté after several mayors in the area asked for support from the province.
The mayor said the situation was improving, according to Guilbault.