A few weeks ago, the healthcare professionals received some strong support. The comedian, Marie-Thérèse Fortin, concerned with the condition of our public healthcare system and herself the mother of a future nurse, launched a petition in which she asks the Québec people to stand up and to refuse the unacceptable. When I learned that Ms Fortin had decided to make this gesture, I was the happiest woman on the planet.
Obviously, I had good reasons to be happy because this support covers what I have been tirelessly defending for nearly 30 years now. This is a valid reason, but it is not the real reason. If I am warmly welcoming this support, it is because, for me, it symbolizes the real issue at the heart of the current negotiations between the Government and the FIQ: the future of the public healthcare network should never come down to a difficult negotiations between a stubborn government and a determined labour organization. Health affects everyone. What better than a platform by which the citizens can finally take their place in this debate besides honking their horns in solidarity when they pass by the demonstrators on the sidewalks.
The anti-union movement loves to bring back the discussions to the simple question of salaries and working conditions. And it is easy to agree with this idea when we are in perfect health and we have the means to pay for the luxury of going to the private sector. But it is sufficient to belong to the average to see things from another angle. The assessment of our « Honesty is the best policy » operation only gives us some insight to the urgency for every one of us to stand up for the defence of the healthcare system, and give it the love that it deserves and which it so badly needs these days.
The truth, let’s not kid ourselves, is that this government’s intention is not to control public finances. Moreover, they don’t hide it, they are patiently, boldly and without deviating, following the path already laid out towards the dismantlement of public services. The recipe is very simple, deprive the network of its resources, which weakens it and makes access more difficult. At the same time, the working conditions deteriorate and force the healthcare professionals to opt for part-time work (in order to have a normal life) and thus weaken the care teams, which contributes again to the deterioration of the services. Finally, the patients for whom their health is the most important thing in their lives find it easier to accept the idea of paying a little more to find the appropriate care.
That is where we are at today : private clinics are being created at great speed, thus depriving the network of the resources that it needs in the field in order to offer quality, safe care.
But behind the illusion of having thus improved the access to and the quality of the care, money is only being diverted to the pockets of entrepreneurs in the business of health who, in exchange, offer luxury care, but only a part of the population can pay for it.
That, to me, seems to be something to be outraged about.
If you are like Marie-Thérèse Fortin, and you believe that health affects every one of us, if you think that it is preferable to have a good healthcare system accessible to all instead of a good private system accessible to only some, speak out by signing her petition
Thank you in advance for your support.