The Quebec population was clearly expressing a desire for change by electing the CAQ on October 1st. Is this a blank check written out to train François Legault? The answer is no. The election results are more a sign of the public’s thirst for change than a show of unequivocal support for the CAQ’s vision—the party only won a little over 37% of the vote. If we include abstentions, the CAQ actually only received support from one out of every four people.
The number of seats won by the CAQ is as impressive as Québec Solidaire’s quantum leap forward. So, with platforms and values at opposite ends of the spectrum, François Legault should be able to read between the lines. The population’s desire for change also speaks of a deep weariness at forever witnessing favouritism for a privileged elite. And, at present, the CAQ’s stance on the public service and distribution of wealth leave me perplexed.
That said, it is the first time this party is in power, governing the province for a four-year term. Now that the season of campaign promises has come to a close, it is time to truly put Mr. Legault to the test. In health care, he will need to rebuild a network mangled by years of Liberal austerity. There is major damage to repair and healthcare staff suffering is at an all-time high. Financial investments better match the scope of work to be done and the proposed solutions better be adapted to healthcare professionals’ and patients’ needs.
One of the CAQ’s healthcare promises was to eliminate mandatory overtime. I applaud the CAQ’s desire to end the scourge afflicting healthcare professionals, and, since the new government has not yet proposed any concrete actions, we will promptly send solutions their way. The CAQ agreed to maintain the safe healthcare professional-to-patient ratios but did not make a firm promise to pass a law. The Federation believes it is 100% necessary to cement ratios in legislation and will continue to fight for it. And while the FIQ and the CAQ may both want to see healthcare professionals play a bigger role in front-line services, I have a strong suspicion that methods for achieving this differ vastly. We need to make sure the CAQ’s method does not include increased privatization of health care services.
So, over the next few weeks, the Federation will meet with the government’s various representatives, including the health minister, in order to voice its expectations and propose a series of measures that could ease pressure on the health network and healthcare professionals.