FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Unions and the federal elections

If you haven’t already taken advantage of your right to vote last weekend, during the advance voting, you will ultimately be asked to do it on Monday, October 19. Although it is not my intention to lead you in this democratic choice which is yours to make, I believe that a clarification of the importance for a labour organization like the one I represent to be very interested in what the different parties are proposing is necessary.

Certain groups and individuals hostile to workers’ voices being heard, devote a lot of effort to denouncing this “going too far” afield of the scope of the unions. For them, a union should confine itself exclusively to the negotiation and application of its collective agreement, and any intervention outside this field of action is nothing more than a misuse of union funds for partisan purposes.

To those with this opinion, I have to respond that there is nothing in a workday of a healthcare professional that is not directly related to the decisions taken by the elected representatives. And while this is obvious when talking about the politicians in the Québec National Assembly, I can say the same thing regarding the elected representatives who represent us in Ottawa.

Whether it is the organization of the care and services, the professional field of practice, the patients’ health status or the opportunity to offer safe health care, all that is, to a very large extent, dependent on political decisions, the orientations and the ideologies conveyed by the political parties and more specifically by the one which will form the next government.

The working conditions that the present government elected in Québec is proposing to us are dependent on its budget guidelines which in turn are influenced by the budget guidelines introduced by the federal government. With all due respect to those who want us to stop talking about it, must we truly justify that appropriate healthcare funding by the federal government would facilitate the adoption of healthcare professionals-to-patients ratios insuring the safety of the care? That the strengthening of the Canada Health Act would put a stop to the privatization of health care? That the rise in trade agreements negotiated by the federal government risks compromising the possibility of providing public health care and services?

Because the FIQ energetically and passionately defends the healthcare professionals as well as the patients, it will continue to take every opportunity to act where the decisions are taken and where we can change and improve their daily lives. Standing idly by while decisions are being taken on Parliament Hill in Ottawa which have an impact on the future of health care would be irresponsible.

For all these reasons, I invite you first, if not already done, to read the information brochure that we produced in order for you to better understand the issues in the current electoral campaign. Then, I am reminding you not to forget to go and vote on Monday.

It is your right, it is your responsibility.