Few denounced the initiative the day after the announcement of the opening of the 1-844-FIQ-AIDE tip line.
But there nonetheless were some who called for prudence. The first to react might as well have been the only one, since all the other reactions were patterned on his. Minster Gaétan Barrette expressed concern at the risk the phone line would spin out of control. This could needlessly alarm the population, he said, adding that what emerged might not reflect reality.
I must admit that I was expecting more substantial arguments, coming from a government that has just provoked one of the biggest reorganizations in the healthcare system’s history, claiming it was urgent to act and putting all healthcare professionals, and the rest of the population, in a state of alarm. All this against a background of austerity measures that could have disastrous effects on the Quebec economy.
I wonder who is now trying to stir up the population. Who is depicting situations that don’t reflect reality? Since when can the truth get out of control or represent an unreal situation? And this goes much farther: in the past few weeks, several local teams have reported to us that healthcare professionals are being given instructions, forbidding them from denouncing problems publicly without advance authorization from their management.
And what can be said about the reactions from the Ordre des infirmières et des infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ) and the Regroupement provincial des comités des usagers (RPCU), which were only pale copies of what the Minister had to say? Or the inexplicable public foray of the President of the Syndicat des infirmières, infirmières auxiliaires et inhalothérapeutes de l’Est-du-Québec (SIIIEQ-CSQ), Micheline Barriault, who also repeated the Minister’s talking points. Aren’t the members of this union affected by the same problems as those of the FIQ? Aren’t they living with the same cuts, the same unacceptable situations? Aren’t they motivated by the same desire to see the Minister consider their expertise?
The FIQ has always maintained that transparency and the dissemination of information could make a greater contribution to improving the healthcare system than withholding information for purposes known only to those who hold it, as the Minister of Health pleases. This isn’t only a bargaining position – it is what we have done since the first day of the FIQ’s existence.