(Amqui) Quebec Premier François Legault said “we feel a little guilty, [him] first” for the tragedy that left two dead and nine injured in Amqui earlier this week.

“What more can we do? We have to do more for mental health, ”he said in a scrum Thursday morning, alongside the three opposition leaders, in the city center of the small community of La Matapédia.

The citizens of this city still seem very shaken by what happened last Monday, when a van rammed groups of pedestrians last Monday.

In front of them, Mr. Legault also promised that help would be deployed in the city and not only in Rimouski, which is more than an hour away.

“Currently, there are professionals who are available here. Then we will make sure, the mayor made me promise, that in the coming weeks, these local services will continue to be offered, “he said.

Prime Minister Legault also invited citizens to mourn, but also to try to return to a normal life.

“Madness must not triumph over hope. You have to be able to rediscover the joy of living,” he said.

Earlier in the morning, Mr. Legault, the Liberal Marc Tanguay, the solidarity Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and the PQ Paul St-Pierre-Plamondon made a walkabout in the city center.

They were surrounded in particular by the prefect of La Matapédia, Chantale Lavoie, and the mayor of Amqui, Sylvie Blanchette. The Bloc member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, Kristina Michaud, and the PQ member for Matane-Matapédia, Pascal Bérubé, were also present.

Prime Minister Legault also heard the testimony of a man who was also almost mowed down by the van, before being saved in extremis by his wife. He said he was talking to one of the victims, Gérald Charest, when the vehicle pulled up on the sidewalk.

“My girlfriend said, ‘Look out, someone’s coming.’ He (the vehicle) passed a foot from me, “said the man, who had been coming out for the first time since the tragedy.

“You owe him a whole lot,” replied the prime minister, pointing to his wife.

“I owe him my whole life. She saved me,” the citizen added.

Steeve Gagnon, a 38-year-old man from the Amqui area, faces two counts of dangerous driving causing death. The prosecutor on record said other charges should be brought against the driver.

Earlier this week, Premier Legault said his visit to the shaken community was meant as a heartwarming gesture. He traveled to Laval a few weeks ago for a similar tragedy, when a man driving a Société de transport de Laval (STL) bus crashed into a building housing a daycare centre, which cost life with two children.

A candlelight vigil is planned in front of the Saint-Benoit-Joseph-Labre church in Amqui on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Friday evening, Kindé Cosme Arouko, the priest responsible for the 22 parishes of the Matapédia Valley, will celebrate a mass with the Archbishop of Rimouski, Denis Grondin, to honor the victims of the carnage in Amqui.

Father Arouko chose texts and prayers from Friday Mass, in an attempt to make sense of what is considered foolish and to provide comfort. He said he would send a message of hope and that despite the difficult times, the world does not stop.