With a few days to go before the election, the Quebec Liberal Party decided to accept the FIQ’s invitation issued to the political party leaders at the beginning of the current election campaign to inform them about the concerns of Quebec healthcare professionals. Unlike the leaders of the Parti Québécois (PQ) and Québec Solidaire (QS) – who agreed to meet me, along with Roberto Bomba, member of the FIQ Executive Committee – the Liberal leader instead chose to delegate the outgoing Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Yves Bolduc.
Even though we are familiar with the heavy toll left by the Liberal government in the healthcare sector, the FIQ wanted to present the concerns of Quebec healthcare professionals, especially since the current state of the healthcare network is the result of the neoliberal medicine administered during the Liberal Party’s 9 years in power. To my great surprise, these many years running the government have had no effect on the capacity of the Liberal Party – and of its outgoing Health Minister – to make real commitments regarding health and social services. Thus, my meeting with Dr. Bolduc unfortunately can be summed up in a few lines.
While Dr. Bolduc sees the organization of work as the main remedy for the healthcare system’s various ills, none of the measures proposed by the FIQ to improve the work environment of healthcare professionals and patients’ access to care and services seems to have found favour with the former Minister. Dr. Bolduc’s rose-coloured glasses are so opaque that, in response to the solution proposed by the FIQ to stop resorting to private residential care for seniors, the Liberal candidate persists in calling for the development of private seniors’ residences and intermediate resources. Remember that these two types of residences have repeatedly made headlines for their major deficiencies in safety and the quality of services offered to seniors.
The absence of a commitment to the Quebec healthcare professionals who care about the public healthcare system is a matter of the utmost concern for me. It is evidence of the Liberal Party’s lack of openness to making the necessary change of direction to correct the situation. The Liberal government had promised to improve access and reduce wait times, both in emergency rooms and for surgery, yet its years in power have brought nothing but setbacks in this regard. As President of the FIQ, I expected nothing less than an admission of failure by the Liberal Party for these poor results. At that time, didn’t Jean Charest invite the Quebec population to judge his government on the promises made in the healthcare sector?
The days between now and the election may bring their share of surprises. Candidates in some Quebec localities appear to be locked in a very close race. I invite you to turn out massively and exercise your right to vote. End the campaign on a positive note!