Quebec town prepares for increased security ahead of G7 summit
A quiet Quebec town is getting ready to welcome some of the world’s most high-profile leaders next week, but some residents fear the beefed-up security is going to make everyday life a challenge.
La Malbaie, Que., located about 140 kilometres northeast of Quebec City and along the St. Lawrence River, has undergone a transformation ahead of the G7 summit at the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu hotel from June 8-9.
Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to be in attendance, along with leaders from the U.K., France, Germany, Japan and Italy.
In preparation for the two-day summit, fences, video cameras and security check points have been installed throughout the town. Armed officers are expected to patrol the area once it gets underway.
A team of RCMP community relations officers has been brought in to answer any questions and concerns the residents might have.
“They wanted to leave the region,” Cpl. Isabelle Michaud, one of the community relations officers, told CTV Montreal. “They've never had such an event.”
Michaud says while the summit is expected to impact the daily lives of residents, it doesn’t mean they won’t be able to go about their business as usual, provided they have the proper accreditation to get through the security checkpoints.
“They can drive. They're going to be able to go anywhere, whenever they want,” Michaud said. “There's no curfew.”
Some residents, including Rosaire Tremblay, aren’t as worried about the impact to their lives and are more focused on the exposure an event like the G7 can bring to the area.
“If it can give La Malbaie some visibility, it's extraordinary,” he said through a translator. “It's a beautiful place.”
Tremblay lives in the “red zone,” an area closest to Le Manoir Richelieu and under the most intense security.
He doesn’t mind, however. He instead jokes that for the next couple weeks, he’s “convinced” his home is the safest in the country.
La Malbaie Mayor Michel Couturier also sees the exposure and economic benefit that the G7 brings to his community.
“We don't have the opportunity very often to speak with people from everywhere around the world,” he said.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Maya Johnson